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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Donita Paul and Sunset Beach Book Give-Away!

Before we meet today's novelist, I want to announce the five winners of my latest release, Sunset Beach:

cjarvis@ . . .
dheath211@ . . .
quzy@ . . .
cllyrics@ . . .
jchoppes@ . . .


Congratulations! I'll contact all of you for your snail mail addresses, and we'll get Sunset Beach to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now, let's revisit with novelist Donita K. Paul, author of The Vanishing Sculptor (WaterBrook/Multnomah, June 2009).

PhotobucketDonita K. Paul has written three Christian romances, four novellas, and six Christian fantasies, plus two picture books, short stories, and magazine articles; puppet plays and a melodrama performed one memorable night at her kids' high school. After an early retirement from teaching, she dove into a second career of writing. Her stories have captured the imagination of the students she left behind plus their parents and grandparents. With awards sprinkled here and there in her writing career, she feels compelled to share what has worked for her with authors just starting out in their careers. Therefore she mentors writers of all ages and is best at giving encouragement. Donita lives in a hobbit hole not far from Pikes Peak in Colorado. She enjoys cooking, beading, stamping, knitting, and her grandsons. Not necessarily in that order.

Donita, please tell us a bit more about The Vanishing Sculptor.

PhotobucketTipper is a young emerlindian who's responsible for the upkeep of her family's estate during her sculptor father's absence. She soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own?

The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions--including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon--and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder. Through Tipper's breathtaking story, readers will discover the beauty of knowing and serving God.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I write with a lot of humor. My pre-readers say this is the funniest episode yet. Those who have fallen in love with the world in which Kale and Bardon battled to rescue Amara, time and time again, will enjoy the familiar things they find in Chiril. This tale is set on the same world, different continent, and different time. Two well-loved characters from the DragonKeeper Chronicles will make an appearance. I'm not telling who.

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

Characterization and dialogue are easy. These fictitious people are in my head. All I do is record their antics. Plotting is difficult at times because the fictitious people and I want to do all sorts of things that don't push forward the story line.

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

An old phonograph album. I have three different speeds and sometimes I am trying to perform at the wrong speed. I go round and around, keeping very busy, but not really going very far. But I accomplish what I was made to do right where I am. Also, what comes out can be very beautiful, funny, poignant, or just plain awful, screechy, scratchy, and not worth keeping.

What kind of book do you read for your own pleasure?

I read a wide variety: mystery, westerns, romantic comedy, contemporary, women's fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. As long as they are clean, I'll give them a try.

Do you always finish a book you’ve started?

A resounding no. And that used to be a resounding yes. When I was younger, I just couldn't put a book aside without at least skimming to the end. Now, my priorities have changed and if the author doesn't give me the quality of story that was promised on the back cover, I put it aside. And that makes me more conscious of pushing myself to deliver what I've promised to my readers. Maybe that's why I'm getting all these gray hairs.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on the sequel to The Vanishing Sculptor. It is the Wandering Artist. I am also working on picture books with my daughter. We have two picture books coming out Spring and Summer of 2010. The books are about best friends, a turtle and a dragon. I'm also working on early readers for children who are just picking up reading or just and those who are becoming independent readers.

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

www.donitakpaul.com

Thanks, Donita, for telling us about The Vanishing Sculptor. Readers, Donita has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, July 13. To enter, leave a comment for Donita, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Be sure to read my interviews with Robin Shope, Missy Tippens, and Jean C. Gordon, below, and enter comments below their interviews to take part in the drawings for their latest novels!

And check back this Thursday, when we visit with Terri Kraus, author of The Transformation.

Finally, my $200 give-away contest is still ongoing! Keep sending your guesses about the foreshadowing event. The winner of the $200 will be announced on August 1. For full details see my June 4 post. I give clues at the beginning of each week, and the clues are getting warmer and warmer. See my June 28 post for all of the clues given so far.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jean C. Gordon, Free Books, and $200 Clue!

Mara's Move is a chick-lit-esque romance that humorously explores overcoming family expectations.

Before we meet today's featured novelist, I want to give this week's $200 contest clue. Full details of the contest are given on my June 4 post.

The first three hints have been:

1. If you haven't yet read Too Good to Be True, you might want to read it before reading or re-reading The Guy I'm Not Dating. That way you're more likely to recognize the foreshadowing when it happens in The Guy I'm Not Dating.

2. The moment foreshadows something good, not bad.

3. The foreshadowing occurs during a conversation between Kara and Ren.

And the fourth hint is:

4. The foreshadowing makes use of a play on word(s).


Several people have already emailed guesses to me, but I encourage everyone to keep sending their guesses. Each week's clues will get more specific, but the first person to guess correctly will be the winner. There is no limit to how many times any one person may guess.


I also want to remind everyone there's still time to enter to win one of five free copies of Sunset Beach, the names for which I'll draw this Tuesday, June 30. You can enter your name in the comments section on my June 4 post. Also on that post, I tell how you can easily get your name entered an extra time.


Thirdly, I want to announce that the winner of Mary Connealy's Montana Rose is:

talker445@ . . .

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

And now, finally, let's meet novelist Jean C. Gordon, author of Mara's Move (Avalon Books, June 2009).

PhotobucketJean C. Gordon's writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word "the," she's been reading everything she can put her hands on. A Professional Financial Planner, Jean is as at home writing tax-planning advice as she is writing novels, but finds novels a lot more fun. She and her husband live in a 170-year-old farmhouse south of Albany, NY, with their daughter and son-in-law, two grandchildren, and a menagerie of pets. While Jean creates stories, her family grows organic fruits and vegetables and tends the livestock du jour.

Mara's Move is Jean's fifth book from Avalon. Bachelor Father, Love Undercover, Mandy and the Mayor, and Candy Kisses are also available.

Please tell us a bit more about Mara's Move, Jean.

PhotobucketMara Riley is out to prove she can make it on her own and to disprove her mother's contention that the only way to security and, therefore, happiness is to marry a doctor or a lawyer. But with her job as an activity director at a North Carolina mountain resort on shaky ground and her penchant for choosing all the wrong men, she's not scoring high in either the pursuit of security or happiness.

Alex Price is on the rebound from a broken engagement. Who would have guessed his social-climbing fiance would drop him, a successful lawyer with his own practice--okay, a successful practice with his two overbearing older brothers--for a back-to-nature forest ranger?

When these childhood adversaries meet on the "honeymoon" cruise Alex is taking alone, they make a pact to help each other ward off unwanted attention from fellow shipmates--a pact that sends them sailing into uncharted waters.

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

Mara. I like her attitude and approach to solving her story dilemmas.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I think it's humorous, heartwarming, and realistic.

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

PhotobucketSarah Lancaster Photobucketand Ryan McPartlin, who play Ellie and "Awesome," Chuck’s sister and brother-in-law on the TV program Chuck.

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?

Christmas: I wrote this on Father's Day when I was thinking of my dad. My father loved celebrating Christmas and decorating for it. He always put a big plastic Santa, framed by Styrofoam candy canes, in the picture window, decorated the tree with every decoration my three brothers and I ever made in school, set up numerous manger scenes on the big old wooden console TV, strung the Christmas cards up the open stairway, and had a speaker outside of the front door to play carols. He did his decorating long after we had all grown up. And we always left our Christmas tree up until the Epiphany when we celebrated Little Christmas.

Oh, that triggered some of my own happy memories, Jean. Nice.

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


Dialog comes easiest to me. I could write a whole book with nothing but dialog. When I'm in a crowd or at a busy restaurant, I often make up conversations between the people I see there. My husband often joins in with me.

I struggle with description. With one of my earlier books, I asked my daughter to critique my first three chapters. Her critique: The story was great, but she had no idea what either the hero or heroine looked like. I have more trouble describing (or remembering to describe) settings. I think I'm just that much more attuned to people than surroundings. If I went to a friend's house, I would never notice if it were dirty. Unfortunately, I might not notice either if the friend had made a special effort to fix things up for my visit, either.

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

A cookie jar with everyone reaching in me for a "goodie." I'm the center of my immediate family, as well as my extended family since my parents have passed.

Wow, that's quite a role to play!

What is the last book you read that impacted you?


Song Yet Sung by James McBride. His characterization is super. He showed slavery from so many points of view, from the slave trader to slaves who were on the Underground Railroad to freedom, to slaves who professed no interest in freedom, to the ordinary townsmen.

I love history, especially more obscure history. Reading this book gave me such a vivid, much broader view of that time in history that now I want to write a historical about the Underground Railroad set in Wyoming County, NY, where I grew up. After doing a little research, I've found that the first political party supporting abolition was formed in Wyoming County.

That sounds like an excellent book idea, Jean! What are you working on now?

A single title inspirational reunion story.

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

My website: www.jeancgordon.com
My blog: www.jeancgordon.com/wordpress, where I’ve been posting excerpts from Mara's Move and will be posting some from my older books in the months ahead.
My books can be purchased from www.AvalonBooks.com, Amazon.com,
Borders Online, and
Barnes and Noble.

Also, many of my books are available at libraries, since Avalon Books is primarily a publisher for libraries.

Thanks, Jean, for telling us about Mara's Move. Readers, Jean has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, July 9. To enter, leave a comment for Jean, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Be sure to read my interviews with Robin Shope and Missy Tippens, below, and enter comments below their interviews to take part in the drawings for their latest novels!

And check back this Tuesday, when we visit with Donita Paul, author of Vanishing Sculptor.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Missy Tippens and Free Books!

He once loved her, but she chose someone else. Now he's back, and she's making him long for a second chance at forever love.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Kathleen Y'Barbo's novel, The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, is:

a_d_kanady@ . . .

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

And now, let's chat with novelist Missy Tippens, author of His Forever Love (Steeple Hill Love Inspired, June 2009).

PhotobucketMissy Tippens is an award-winning writer and was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. She has a story included in Blessings of Mossy Creek, published by BelleBooks. After ten years of pursuing her dream, she made her first sale of a full-length novel to Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Her debut novel, Her Unlikely Family, was a February 2008 release. Her next, His Forever Love, is on the shelves now! It will be followed by A Forever Christmas in November.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of His Forever Love.

PhotobucketHis Forever Love is about a physicist who once had a crush on his study partner. But the night he was going to declare his love, she showed up engaged. As soon as he graduated, he took off for college in Boston and never looked back. But now his granny has fallen and needs him. He plans to take her back to Boston to live, but his former love is Granny's caretaker, and she refuses to let Granny go. The two face off as she tries to convince him that Granny is able to take care of herself--and does everything possible to ruin his plan. All the while, she's trying not to fall in love with him, because he once deserted her. But she has to learn to trust God's plan for her life. And he has to learn that God really does care about him, and that he does have hope for a future.

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

I would have to say the hero, Bill. And I think because he felt like he didn't fit in when he was a kid. I can remember having those feelings as I was growing up--of being on the outside of some group looking in. Of having a crush on several boys in junior high, and none returned the feelings! Oh, the angst of the pre-teen and teen years! :) So I could really feel Bill's pain. And as the story opens, he has to go back to that hometown and face all those people. And face the woman who rejected him (even though she didn’t really know how he felt and only saw him as a friend).

I love that aspect of the story--the memory of not fitting in as a kid. I think many people will identify with that from some point in their lives. Why do you think will readers enjoy your novel?

I think it's fun to pull for the underdog, so readers will feel Bill's pain as tries not to bumble around like a high schooler with a crush. And I think they'll also relate to the heroine, Lindsay, who's so busy taking care of everyone around her, she's forgotten to live her own life.

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

Oh, gosh, that's so hard, because I don't keep up with actors very well.

PhotobucketI will say that I pictured Jason Bateman for Bill because of his boy-next-door good looks. But I truly never could picture anyone for Lindsay.

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?

The word: Expectations. The memory . . . I remember once making a "C" in math on my final report card and getting grounded for it. After school was out for the summer, I can remember hearing kids outside playing, but I was still grounded. Such misery. And I guess the story germ might be to write a story about someone facing too many expectations, or unrealistic expectations.

Grounded? That's heartbreaking! Okay, I won't make any further comment there, other than agreeing with your use of the words "too many expectations." Sigh.

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


Previously, I would have said dialogue comes easiest. But lately, I've had some trouble with that. So I guess things change as we grow and learn and our writing develops. As far as something I struggle with, I can easily say that's coming up with strong external conflict. I love all the internal angst, but have the hardest time putting my characters in tough situations.

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

Oh, my goodness! I'm having to do brain exercises, here. Having to stretch a little, which will be great for creativity. :) I have to admit I had a blonde moment and almost said a golden retriever puppy. But that's not exactly inanimate! LOL

How funny! Yes, I found I had to put the "inanimate" in there to keep everyone from picking animals to represent themselves; isn't that interesting?

Okay, I guess I would say a partly-done oil painting. I feel like I'm a work in progress, and God is slowly working on me to make me the woman he wants me to be-- layering all the things that make me who I am and all the events that form my life. And He knows what the finished product is going to look like, but I have no idea!

I like it! See, that wasn't too painful, was it?

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


I have to say Tribute, by Nora Roberts. It drew me in and made me care about her characters so quickly that my head was spinning. She's a master at it, and I was blown away once again.

What are you working on now?

I recently finished edits for my next Steeple Hill Love Inspired due out in November, A Forever Christmas. And I'm now working on a new proposal.

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

www.missytippens.com
www.lifewithmissy.blogspot.com
www.seekerville.blogspot.com
www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com

And for ordering His Forever Love, I have links on my website so readers can choose a bookseller. www.missytippens.com/booksandappearances

Missy would love to hear from readers by e-mail

Thanks, Missy, for telling us about His Forever Love. Readers, Missy has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, July 6. To enter, leave a comment for Missy, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Be sure to read my interviews with Mary Connealy and Robin Shope, below, and enter comments below their interviews to take part in the drawings for their latest novels!

And you can still enter to win one of five copies of my latest release, Sunset Beach. See the entry details in my June 4 post. I'll draw the five names next Tuesday (June 30).

Also on my June 4 post are details about my August 1 give-away of $200. It's not too late to enter!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Robin Shope and Free Books!

Ancient Egyptian mysteries meet the computer age of Washington politics in a battle of love and betrayal.

Before we meet today's novelist, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Vickie McDonough's novel, Straight for the Heart, is:

desertrose5173@ . . .

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

PhotobucketAnd now let's revisit novelist Robin Shope, author of Wildcard (The Wild Rose Press, May, 2009). Tell us about your latest novel, Robin.

PhotobucketWhat would happen if there was a microchip that could change the outcome of the next election from the mayor of a small town to the next president of the United States? Not enough votes for a landslide, but just enough to put their candidate over the top in a decisive win. (side note: think of all the problems with our present voting system. Problem solved if every polling place were uniform with identical machines. Sounds like a great idea, huh? Read on.) The Wildcards are a group of maverick agents who can be bought by any political group, foreign or otherwise, by manipulating the mainframe. The ramifications could be devastating or a utopia, setting policy for many years. Good versus evil. Does the end justify the means?

During Ivy Dillon's last week as a Washington Intern, she and Ms. Geneen Waters, the secretary to the President of the United States, overhear a conversation about missing software. Months later Ms. Waters' body is found floating in the Potomac River. A coincidence? If not, then Ivy may have vital information that both sides need.

FBI Special Agent Ian Serby swears he will give his life to protect her and takes Ivy into protective custody. Ian is smart, sexy and seems to have a hidden agenda all his own. Will Ivy follow her heart and believe what Ian tells her about trying to stop the Wildcards or is he actually a member of the Wildcards? The storyline takes us from the nation's capital to the small tourist town of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, to the re-election headquarters of an unpopular congressman in Chicago, to Austin, Texas and back to DC.

The political aspect of Wildcard is only a small part of the story. There is an equal mix of romance and mystery that readers will find exciting, tantalizing and enjoyable.

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

Ivy has grit. I love her! She grew from a frightened young woman to someone who figured out how to survive on her own and she realizes her true worth by the end of the book.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The book has something for everyone; there is an ancient mystery that ties into the present concerning an early book of maps, information about the first Lady Pharaoh of Egypt, a certain monument in Washington DC, computer technology, murder, romance . . . it's a thriller, a mystery, and a romance. It also is a good moral story. The story is highly entertaining. While writing the book, I contacted several people who are techies to help with the computer information to keep it pure and correct.

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

PhotobucketEmma Stone would play Ivy Dillon.

PhotobucketChristian Bale would play Sam Oliver.

PhotobucketGeorge Clooney would play Ian Serby.

When you visited us last, you told us your writing strengths and weaknesses were coming up with story ideas and writing smooth transitions, respectively. Has that changed in any fashion?

I think my strength is still coming up with story ideas. I have a folder filled with one-pagers I hope to someday write a book about (it even includes a few series). My weakness is still those pesky transitions!

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?


I use 'germs' all the time! I don't think I have written one story without using this strategy. After graduating from college, I sent out job resumes hoping to find my niche. I applied those same feelings and thoughts to Ivy in Wildcard as someone trying to establish her career, work through feelings of self-doubt along with mending a broken heart.

Someone has just handed you a box containing exactly what you need at this moment in time. What's in the box?

Time for myself to write! I dream of a vintage cottage somewhere with a quiet view where I can spend time alone to write.

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

I am presently reading a non-fiction book, A Hole in The Gospel by Richard Stearns. Moving. It's about the struggle to obey Christ no matter the cost and to change the world by living our faith out loud. It puts the emphasis on serving Him and not so much making a name for ourselves. We need to begin living here on earth as though we are building His kingdom, not our own. I highly recommend. Although I would love for everyone to buy Wildcard, if you had enough money to buy only one of the two books, then buy Stearns. My book will entertain you for a few hours and make you take a closer look at the voting booth, but Stearns will change how you live your life for Christ.

What are you working on now?

I am half way finished with my newest romance/mystery. I cannot decide to call it The Mythmaker or The Forgotten Gardens of My Heart. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know! I need your help.

My vote is with The Mythmaker--it sounds more mysterious than hearts and gardens. Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

I am really into FB and Twitting so please look for me there and be sure to send a friend request and send a shout-out to me. Also, my blog will be carrying additional information on my book The Christmas Edition that is being made into a movie. My blog will be carrying scenes from the movie and interviews with the actors and actresses. It will be made in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin by Salty Earth Pictures. www.write2robinshope.blogspot.com

I am also on Shoutlife.com.

And here's the link to Wildcard on Amazon

Before we let Robin go, I wanted to share with you the picture she sent of her live-in editor: Photobucket

Thanks, Robin, for telling us about Wildcard. Readers, Robin has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, July 2. To enter, leave a comment for Robin, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Be sure to read my interviews with Kathleen Y'Barbo and Mary Connealy, below, and enter comments below their interviews to take part in the drawings for their latest novels!

And you can still enter to win one of five copies of my latest release, Sunset Beach. See the entry details in my June 4 post. I'll draw the five names next Tuesday (June 30).

Also on my June 4 post are details about my August 1 give-away of $200. It's not too late to enter!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mary Connealy, Free Books, and $200 Clue!

A pregnant widow marries a soft-hearted rancher to avoid a forced marriage to a powerful, dangerous man--who still intends to have her.

Before we revisit today's featured author, I want to share this week's $200 give-away hint.

Our clues so far have been:

1. You're more likely to recognize the foreshadowing when it happens in The Guy I'm Not Dating if you've read Too Good to Be True first.

2. The moment foreshadows something good, not bad.

And today's clue is:

3. The foreshadowing occurs during a conversation between Kara and Ren.

Each week's clues will get more specific, but the first person to guess correctly will be the winner. There is no limit to how many times any one person may guess.

You can find full details about how to win the $200 give-away on my June 4 post.

And now let's chat with novelist Mary Connealy, author of Montana Rose (Barbour Publishing, July 2009).

PhotobucketMary Connealy, author of the Lassoed in Texas series, begins a new series with Montana Rose. She will be releasing historical romantic comedies for Barbour for the next three years.

Mary is married to her high school sweetheart, Ivan, a Nebraska farmer/rancher. She is the mother of four beautiful daughters: Josie, married to Matt; Wendy; Shelly, married to Aaron; and Katy. She's got one beautiful granddaughter, Elle.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Montana Rose, Mary.

PhotobucketMontana Rose was actually inspired by Janette Oke's beautiful classic novel Love Comes Softly. Of course, I'm not Janette Oke (unfortunately for me) and my novel has taken an alarming turn to romantic comedy, suspense and chaos.

Red Dawson's got himself a wife he's sure God never intended. And when he informs Cassie she has to do some work around the ranch he's surprised she immediately tries to help with everything. Too bad she's a walking disaster. His ranch may not survive her efforts to pitch in. And Red may not survive Wade Sawyer's obsession with Cassie.

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

Writing Cassie's story was all about her. I have a habit in my books to write a heroine so strong she's almost a superwoman. I was trying to keep fresh, to stretch myself, so I deliberately set out to make Cassie very weak, vulnerable, obedient. I just wanted to see if it could do it.

Trouble is, I didn't like her. I like superwomen. So I had my hands full creating her character, giving her a backstory that explained her weakness. And, me being me, I couldn't leave her weak. I had to toughen her up in the end. I ended up loving her.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The humor in Montana Rose was all about Cassie trying to be obedient to her new husband and her new husband not really wanting her to be. He doesn't know what orders to give. He wants her to think for herself. She learns how to eventually, but not until she's almost destroyed Red's ranch guessing what he wants her to do.

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

I usually duck this question. I see my characters in my own mind and don't like putting a famous face on them. Let me think . . .

PhotobucketI kind of like Kristin Kreuk from Smallville for Cassie.

For Red, well, he's such a sweetie, and so at a loss how to deal with his new wife. And red hair, pretty unusual. I think I'll just leave him to your imagination.

I suppose we could dye anyone's hair red, so we'll let readers visualize a good casting choice for you after reading the book!

When you visited us last, you told us your writing strengths and weaknesses were coming up with story ideas and developing three-dimensional characters, respectively. Has that changed in any fashion?


I find creating characters to be a real challenge. The only reason it doesn't bother me is, it's a challenge I love. I'm working on the idea for my next book right now in my head and I've already got my heroine in mind, trouble is, she's too much a cookie cutter of other characters. Just pure strength, hostile to men, utterly independent. I love writing characters like that because they're such a challenge to men. But it needs to be personalized. I'm still trying to find the key to her and usually the key amounts to foibles and weaknesses. True her very independence is a weakness, because of how hard it is to 'tame' her. But she needs more. A fear of snakes or a love of ribbons and lace or some quirk like a passion for . . . oh, I don't know. . . peanut butter or something. To make her human and likeable.

Personally, I'm very much in tune with heroines passionate about peanut butter.

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?


The first thing, while I tried to marshal my unruly mind, was my passion for motherhood. I love putting children in books and catching a mother's inner tigress defending her young.

Someone has just handed you a box containing exactly what you need at this moment in time. What's in the box?

Lunch.
Sorry. I live a very quiet life.
Let me think. I'll try and do better.
Money (not what you're going for is it?)
A hired man for my husband who is working so hard right now.
Big box.
Health for a family member who's ill.
Now the box is getting tricky.
I give up, just give me lunch.
I guess that proves my life is pretty good, huh?

Mary, you won't believe this, but I'm fasting today, so your first answer was right up my alley.

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

I just finished Julie Lessman's A Passion Denied. I am so completely in love with her work. It's a challenge to me because Julie does so much with the emotion and the characters and the scenes and the faith in her books. It makes me try harder, dig deeper, revise and polish and risk.

What are you working on now?

I'm finishing up this Montana Marriage series. Book #2 is The Husband Tree, coming in February 2010 and Wildflower Bride, coming in July 2010.

I also have a Christmas romance coming in September called Cowboy Christmas. It isn't part of a series, but I think it's a lot of fun. And it might end up being part of a series of it's own, soon.
Cowboy Christmas on Amazon

I also had a book release in June that I'll just mention. Nosy in Nebraska. It's different from the historical romantic comedies. It's romantic comedies but it's a collection of three short cozy mysteries that I had such a ball writing. Contemporary murder mysteries, very quirky and lighthearted.
Nosy in Nebraska on Amazon

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your other books.

www.maryconnealy.com
mconnealy.blogspot.com
petticoatsandpistols.com
seekerville.blogspot.com

Buy Montana Rose at:
Amazon.com
or Christianbook.com

Thank you, Mary, for telling us about yourself and Montana Rose. Readers, Mary has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Sunday, June 28. To enter, leave a comment for Mary, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Be sure to read my interviews with Vickie McDonough and Kathleen Y'Barbo, below, and enter comments below their interviews to take part in the drawings for their latest novels!

And you can still enter to win one of five copies of my latest release, Sunset Beach. See the entry details in my June 4 post. I'll draw the five names on June 30.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kathleen Y'Barbo and Free Books!

A restless city girl drawn to the Wild West through the dime novels she secretly loves finds herself up to her bonnet-strings in trouble.

Today we're revisiting novelist Kathleen Y'Barbo, author of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper (Waterbrook, June 2009).

PhotobucketKathleen is a best-selling author of more than thirty-five novels, novellas, and young adult books. She has also co-written two nonfiction books. In all, more than 850,000 copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad. In addition, she joined Books & Such Literary Agency as their publicist in 2007.

A tenth generation Texan, Kathleen is the mother of three sons and a daughter.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper.

PhotobucketSeizing a rare chance to step into the world of the dime novels she secretly loves, New York socialite Eugenia "Gennie" Cooper never plans to stay out West any longer than a day or two. After all, she has a perfectly happy life back home that includes a man her father believes would make a grand husband. Gennie's well thought-out plans go awry when a ten-year-old girl and her widowed Denver silver baron father derail her quick return to New York. Will Daniel's secret and the danger associated with it bring a quick end to their gilded-age love story or, like silver refined, will the pair allow God to bring them safely through?

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


I loved the character of Gennie because she took a bold step to follow her dreams.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Reviewers have commented on how much they enjoy the humor in this story. I also hope readers will find a little bit of themselves in the characters they'll meet on the pages.

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

I love this question! Actually I usually have an actor in mind when I'm writing, but this time I patterned my characters after my favorite musicians:

PhotobucketKeith Urban for Daniel Beck.

PhotobucketAnd Miranda Lambert as Gennie Cooper.

PhotobucketGennie's sidekick, Anna Finch, is definitely a glammed-down Shania Twain.

PhotobucketCharlotte Beck could be Taylor Swift at age 11 with her curls and spunk.

Goodness, it's impossible to find a picture of the girl that young. She skyrocketed to fame too "swiftly." We'll have to use our imaginations on that one.

And then how about your character, Elias?


PhotobucketElias? Definitely Willie Nelson with a hat instead of braids and a bandana.

I never could decide who Mae Winslow, my dime novel heroine, was patterned after. Is she a little bit Dolly Parton with a dash of Reba MacIntire, or maybe she’s more like Gretchen Wilson or Faith Hill? Perhaps your readers will tell me.

Kind of a generational difference there. I'd be interested to hear how your readers pictured her.

When you visited us last, you told us your writing strengths and weaknesses were research and time, respectively. Has that changed in any fashion?

I think I'm getting more efficient at researching and better with time management. I still have a long way to go with the latter, and enjoy the former far too much. I am, however, a work in progress!

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?

Red bicycle with hand-painted flowers. Story? Hmmm . . . maybe something to do with a woman who rides a bicycle when to do so was scandalous.

Someone has just handed you a box containing exactly what you need at this moment in time. What's in the box?

God's phone number. Wait, we all have that, don't we? It's called prayer.

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

There are so many! And since I'm on deadline, I couldn't tell you the last book I've read. So, in lieu of that response, can I just tell you the books that are so good I wish I'd written them?

Sure!

Nonfiction: I keep going back to Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I know some dismiss it as being too "seeker friendly," but there are deep truths in that book that give comfort, challenge, and make me smile.

The novel I can't forget? There are two: At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols and Some Wildflower in My Heart by Jamie Langston Turner.

What are you working on now?

The next book in the series. Anna Finch gets her own story, and not one but three potential suitors. It's lots of fun to write and, I hope, even more fun to read.

Ah, so Shania will star in her own vehicle, eh? Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

www.kathleenybarbo.com is the website I will be launching soon.

The novel can be found at: Amazon.com

Thank you, Kathleen, for telling us about yourself and The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper. Readers, Kathleen has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Friday, June 26. To enter, leave a comment for Kathleen, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Be sure to read about Vickie McDonough, below, and enter a comment below her interview to take part in the drawing for her latest novel!

Also, check out details and clues for my August 1 $200 give-away! See my posts on June 4, June 8, and June 15.

And you can still enter to win one of five copies of my latest release, Sunset Beach. See the entry details in my June 4 post. I'll draw the five names on June 30.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vickie McDonough and Free Books!

A rancher goes to pick up the mail-order bride his grandma ordered without his knowledge, but when the bride doesn't show, the town sheriff offers him an alternative--marry the gal he has in jail and get grandma off his back.

Before we chat with today's guest, I want to let you know that the winner of Cheryl Wyatt's A Soldier's Reunion had just won a copy of the book through another give-away, so we've drawn again. The winner of Cheryl's novel is:

malward2002@ . . .

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

And now let's revisit novelist Vickie McDonough, author of Straight for the Heart (Heartsong Presents, a division of Barbour Publishing, July 2009).

PhotobucketVickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written 16 novels and novellas. Her Heartsong books, The Bounty Hunter and the Bride and Wild At Heart, both placed third in the Top Ten Favorite Historical Romance category in Heartsong Present's annual readers' contests. Her stories frequently place in national contests, such as the ACFW Book of the Year contest and the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest.

Vickie has also written book reviews for over eight years. She is a wife of thirty-three years, mother of four grown sons and grandma to a feisty three-year-old girl. When she's not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Straight for the Heart.

Here's the back cover blurb:

PhotobucketOrphaned and destitute, Sarah Oakley hopes to find a home with her uncle in the North Dakota Badlands. But when she learns he's an outlaw, she and her young siblings flee, taking his bag of loot. Sarah hides her siblings and takes the gold into town alone, hoping to claim the reward. Instead, she's thrown in jail to await the circuit judge. She desperately worries about her siblings, and her only hope for release is to marry a man she doesn't know.

Quinn McFarland never expected to marry--and then his grandma sent for a mail-order bride. When the bride doesn't show, he's relieved but fears Grandma will just order another bride. Quinn balks at the sheriff's suggestion to marry the girl in his jail so he can drop the charges against her. But she looks so sweet and obviously innocent that Quinn reconsiders.

Maybe this marriage can resolve Quinn's and Sarah's predicaments, but can it ever result in true love?

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

I'd have to say Quinn. This book is the third in a trilogy, and Quinn has been in each story. He's the oldest brother of a set of younger twins that he helped raise after their father died. He's a loner, but a man with high morals and dedication to his ranch and family. I wanted to see this tough rancher fall in love, but I didn't make it easy for him.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It's about struggling people who are forced together. Things don't always go as we plan, but if we trust God, he'll work everything out for our good. I wanted to show that in this story.

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?

Horse. Even though I was a city gal, I loved horses. My parents bought me a couple of them during my early teen years, and having experienced riding and caring for them, made it much easier to write about horses in my stories. I'm thankful that my parents were willing to spend the money for a horse when I know things were tight for them. Riding my horses around town are some of my best childhood memories.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you?

Writing males comes easy for me since I'm the mother of four boys. Dialogue is another thing that's been fairly easy.

What do you struggle with?

I find writing description hard. I prefer books with lots of action and often skim over description when reading, especially if there's a lot of it. I know I need to add it to my stories, but it's still difficult to write at times.

What is the last book you read that impacted you?

I just finished reading A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman. Her books are more sensual than most Christian fiction and yet done in a tasteful way, which seems very realistic. Her characters seem like real people and are full of emotion. That's probably another area I struggle with in my writing. I tend not to be a very emotional person. I don't get upset much or cry often, but I want my readers to experience those things in my stories.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently writing my first longer fiction book for Barbour. It's called The Anonymous Bride and will be released next spring. It's the story of a town marshal who suddenly has several women come to town expecting to marry him. The thing is--he never order a bride.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

www.vickiemcdonough The book will be available soon on the Heartsong Presents website: www.heartsongpresents.com or Amazon.com If readers would like an autographed copy, they can contact me via my website.

Thanks for allowing me to visit with you today, Trish!

Thank you, Vickie, for telling us about yourself and Straight for the Heart. Readers, Vickie has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Wednesday, June 24. To enter, leave a comment for Vickie, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Also, be sure to check out details and clues for my August 1 $200 give-away! See my posts on June 4, June 8, and June 15.

And you can still enter to win one of five copies of my latest release, Sunset Beach. See the entry details in my June 4 post. I'll draw the five names on June 30.

Just below, I've posted a few shots from, and a few comments about, the annual ACFW Conference, which takes place in Denver this year, September 17-20. I hope all of you writers will consider this wonderful opportunity to meet fellow writers--newbies and multi-published. You will LOVE the experience.

ACFW Conference Friendships at All Stages of Your Writing Career

Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don't. All of the personality tests tell me I'm an extrovert, but I don't always feel like one. Maybe you don't feel like one either.

PhotobucketBut don't you dare let shyness keep you from going to this year's ACFW conference in Denver!Photobucket

PhotobucketI only wish I had started going to the conferences earlier.Photobucket

Even before getting on the plane for my first ACFW conference several years ago, I made friends with a number of my fellow members simply by hopping into forum chats. Photobucket

Regardless of how much or how little publishing experience any of us has, plenty of ACFW members are new to the conference this year, which is the case every year. Photobucket

PhotobucketWhen I started poking around the forums, I made cyber friends who made the in-person experience so much more fun and less overwhelming. Photobucket

PhotobucketBefore any of us started packing our suitcases, we talked about agents, editors, classes, pitches, bookmarks, one-sheets, evening wear, being too fat to fit into said evening wear, needing to shop for new evening wear, and the chocolate party. (After all, if you're going to buy bigger evening wear anyway, you might as well attend the chocolate party.)

Because my daughter is getting married this year in Jamaica, I probably won't be able to attend this year's conference, and it's killing me. Yes, I can get the classes on MP3, which is great. But I am SO disappointed that I won't get to touch base in person with some of the wonderful people I've met in years past. Photobucket

If you're on the fence about going this year, I want to encourage you to get off that fence and step onto the side that leads to Denver. If you do you're going to make oodles of writer friendships that will last forever. You won't ever want to miss ACFW again.

Trust me on this--missing this year is making me feel like a nut.

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Week's Clue for $200 Contest

A computer crash has prompted a short hiatus on my author interviews, but I wanted to leave this week's clue for my contest to win $200 on August 1!

But first, let me announce that the winner of Cheryl Wyatt's novel, A Soldier's Reunion, is:

ashley.vanburen@ . . .

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

If you'd like a free copy of my newest release, Sunset Beach, take a look at my June 4 post. I'm giving away five copies at the end of June. Be sure to enter!

Now back to the contest clues:

On June 4 I announced my foreshadowing contest, at the end of which someone will win $200. I also gave a hint about the answer. See that post for details.

On June 8 I gave another hint about the answer. See that post for the second hint.

Several people have already emailed guesses to me, but I encourage everyone to keep sending their guesses. Each week's clues will get more specific, but the first person to guess correctly will be the winner. There is no limit to how many times any one person may guess.



This week's clue: The moment foreshadows something good, not bad.






Finally, be sure to check out Cheryl Wyatt's interview, below, and enter a comment to take part in our give-away of her latest novel, A Soldier's Reunion.

Author interviews and book give-aways will resume within a day or so, with Vickie McDonough, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Mary Conneally, and more!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cheryl Wyatt, Free Books, and $200 Contest Hint

While tasked to a bridge collapse, a U.S. Pararescue Jumper comes face to face with an old flame (who needs another kind of rescue) and determines to rescue their relationship and recover her downed faith.

Before we meet today's author, I want to give you this week's hint about the August 1 $200 give-away contest: If you haven't yet read Too Good to Be True, you might want to read it before reading or re-reading The Guy I'm Not Dating. You're more likely to recognize the foreshadowing when it happens, if you know what happens in Too Good to Be True.

These hints will get warmer and warmer each week, so stay tuned. But keep guessing, because whoever guesses correctly first will win. There is no limit to how many guesses you can make.

See my June 4 blog post if you need further details about this contest.

By the way, after my June 4 post about the contest, a few people wrote me about not having book stores nearby. I recently ordered a boatload of copies of Too Good to Be True at a discounted price. I'd be happy to pass that savings along, and will mail a copy of the book to you--if you live in the U.S.--for $8, which includes first class postage. I'll even sign it, if you like. If you email me, I'll let you know what to do to have a copy within days.

Also, be sure to check my June 4 post to see how you can enter (several times) to win one of five signed copies of Sunset Beach at the end of June.

Speaking of give-aways, I'd like to announce that the winner of Sharlene MacLaren's Maggie Rose is:

angelahipp@ . . .

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

And now let's meet novelist Cheryl Wyatt, author of A Soldier's Reunion from Wings of Refuge Series (Steeple Hill Love Inspired, June 2009).

PhotobucketBorn Valentine's Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers.

I love the destiny-like feel about your birthdate and place! Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Soldier's Reunion.

PhotobucketDespite a decade apart, this isn't the reunion Mandy Manchester expected! She thought she'd put high school sweetheart Nolan Briggs behind her. Now he's back . . . and the pararescue jumper literally sweeps her off her feet. He's ready and willing to rekindle what they once shared. Mandy, though, isn't prepared to put her heart at risk. He left her before--she won't trust him again. Can Nolan teach this grounded girl to take a leap of faith?

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

Lead male/hero Nolan Briggs. Because I've known him from the previous books and couldn't wait to write his story. He's an integral part of the PJ (Pararescue Jumper) team and I'm so glad he finally got his own story.

I'll bet your readers feel the same way! Why will readers enjoy A Soldier's Reunion?

I believe with so many U.S. soldiers and airmen deployed, the book is relevant. It starts out high-action and has a strong faith theme. Stronger than in the other Wings of Refuge books I think. I also think that it showcases those who serve and hopefully honors the pararescue career, which not too many people know about. I think that unique career interests readers . . . according to the many letters I get about it. Also, readers get to revisit old characters from previous books and meet characters who will be featured in future Wings of Refuge books.

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

PhotobucketU.S. AF PJ Nolan Briggs would be played by actor Paul Walker of the movie 8 Below.

PhotobucketAnd pediatrician-in-training Mandy Manchester would be played by Megan Fox of the Transformers films.

Wow, look at the eyes on those two! Pretty!

In the book Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?


I'm seeing a mud bog/tractor pull race that went awry. LOL! It could be a potential rescue scene for a future PJ book. The memory comes from the time our family went to the fairgrounds and a tractor's throttle stuck on high and came through the fence and splintered up to the 7th row or so of bleachers where we were sitting. Miraculously no one was majorly injured or killed.

Yeesh! I think I'd rather read about that than experience it!

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


Getting ideas comes easy to me, thank God! I'd hate to have to think hard of story ideas. I'm thankful that part comes easy. Thinking of/creating characters comes easy. Plot conflict comes hard. Thinking of good external conflict comes hard. Thinking of good internal conflict comes easy as does thinking up good motivation. I sometimes struggle with creating characters' story goals. But it's fun to brainstorm that kind of stuff with my pal Camy Tang.

Camy's great for that. I sat on a panel with her, and we were asked to brainstorm a book plot right there in front of everyone. While I froze up, Camy spouted possibilities all over the place. She's a dynamo.

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

Oh man . . . hard question. Right now it would be a spoon. Probably because I just ate a bowl of Raisin Bran. LOL!

That made me laugh out loud. Gotta go with the moment, right?

I'm just sitting here resting and I have milk in my middle. I'm not shiny though. Sigh . . . this is hard! LOL! Fun question though . . . my answer was lame. LOLOLOL!

I'd have a hard time answering some of my own questions, but it's fun to see how different authors answer the same questions, especially when they're a bit odd like that (the questions, not the authors).

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


It was Mary Connealy's Buffalo Gal. It prevented me from having to exercise that day because it literally kept my heart rate up for two hours solid. So much action! And the heroine was so interesting as was the premise of the buffalo.

What are you working on now?

Right now I'm mentally plotting the next three books that I hope to sell in the PJ (Wings of Refuge) series. I've added two new guys to the team and am trying to think of a story for PJ Brockton that my editors will find irresistible. LOL! I'm plotting their stories and typing those out on an Alphasmart.

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

My Web site is www.cherylwyatt.com I have a newsletter folks can sign up for if they wish. I have goodies that I give and do exclusively for newsletter subscribers.

To purchase A Soldier's Reunion, here are some links:

www.amazon.com

www.christianbook.com

Thank you SO much for this opportunity, Trish!

And thank you, Cheryl, for telling us about yourself and A Soldier's Reunion. Readers, Cheryl has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, June 15. To enter, leave a comment for Cheryl, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

SUNSET BEACH, Free Books, and a $200 Prize

To celebrate the release of my new novel, Sunset Beach, I'm giving away $200! Yes, I'm giving away some copies of Sunset Beach too, but on August 1 someone is going to win $200!

But before I tell you how that's going to happen, I'd like to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Tina Forkner's Rose House is:

barn1451@ . . .

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

Now. The contests.

FIRST, I have five signed copies of Sunset Beach to give away this month. I'll draw the winners' names on my last June blog day, June 30. If you're a subscriber, you'll automatically be entered. If you leave a comment after today's post, you'll be entered a second time. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. And if you check out my column in ChristianFictionOnlineMagazine and tell me via email one stolen item that I mention in connection with the Thoughtful Oblivion blog, you'll be entered a third time. Be sure to send that last bit of info to me via email, not in a comment below. I'll announce the five winners June 29.

SECONDLY, I want to give someone $200 as a way to share God's blessings to me in my writing career. Here's how the contest will work:

For the past several months I've asked my author interviewees for their input on various writing issues, such as point of view, well-rounded characters, and print on demand. My July authors will be addressing the topic of foreshadowing.

For those who aren't sure what foreshadowing is: it involves a writer using hints or clues to indicate events that will occur later in a book or, in this contest's particular case, events that will occur in a following book.

An example of foreshadowing in Romeo and Juliet occurs when Juliet says of Romeo, "If he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed." She means she'll die an unmarried woman, if it turns out Romeo is married. But her words foreshadow the fatal outcome of her marriage to him--her grave truly does become her wedding bed.

Sometimes the hints glare, they're so obvious. Sometimes the hints are so subtle you don't see them until someone else--a teacher or even the author herself--points them out to you.

Our $200 winner will find one of my more subtle uses of foreshadowing and be the first one to specifically name it to me via email. I have a particular moment in mind, on a particular page, in a particular novel. No other example will do, but I encourage you to guess away! I plan to give hints every week as we near the August 1 announcement. But the first person to name the specific incident will be the winner, regardless of when they send me their guess.

So, without further ado, here's today's hint: The foreshadowing occurs in my first novel, The Guy I'm Not Dating, and it foreshadows something about my second novel, Too Good to Be True.

Photobucket

Happy hunting--I'm eager to see who wins!

Oh, and remember to check out Shar MacLaren's interview, below, and leave a comment for Shar--you'll be entered into the give-away of Maggie Rose this Monday!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sharlene MacLaren and Free Books!

In 1904, mission-minded Maggie Rose takes a job at a New York City orphanage, never expecting to fall in love with a hardnosed newspaper reporter.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Ramona Richard's book, The Taking of Carly Bradford is:

malward2002@ . . .

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

And now let's meet novelist Sharlene MacLaren, author of Maggie Rose (Whitaker House, July 2009).

PhotobucketAfter 31 years of teaching second and fourth grades, Shar decided to say, "Bye-bye, Students!" and "Hello, Writing World!" and it's been an exciting adventure. God dropped a seed of passion for writing in her heart back in the summer of 2000, and He's been growing it ever since. She first started her writing career with a Print-on-Demand press back in 2002 when she published a contemporary novel titled Spring's Promise. After much studying of the writing/publishing industry, she began her search for a mainline publisher and discovered Whitaker House. Consequently, she signed on with them in early 2006 and in December of that year released Through Every Storm, a general fiction title that finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book-of-the-Year in 2007. Her acclaimed "Little Hickman Creek" series followed, then a contemporary novel called Long Journey Home, and finally her "Daughters of Jacob Kane" series, the first of which released in January, 2009. Titles are Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann.

Shar has done numerous countrywide book-signings, television and radio appearances, and countless interviews. She has been married to the love of her life for almost 34 years and has two wonderful married daughters and three perfectly adorable grandchildren.

Besides her involvement in church choir and the worship team, Shar enjoys speaking for the local MOPS organization, is involved in KIDS' HOPE, USA, a mentoring program for at-risk children, counsels young women in the APPLES OF GOLD program, and attends two weekly Bible studies.

She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake with Dakota, their loveable collie, and Mocha, their lazy fat cat.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Maggie Rose, Shar.

PhotobucketIn the summer of 1904, Maggie Rose Kane, Jacob's spunky, independent middle daughter accepts God's call to leave her beloved hometown of Sandy Shores, Michigan to work as 'house mother' at New York City's Sheltering Arms Refuge, a home for displaced and orphaned waifs. There she meets the cynical, hardnosed Luke Madison, a 27-year-old news reporter from the New York World who's been thrust upon the orphanage for a three-month period with an order to research the city's problem of "Street Arabs," the name pinned to these impoverished children. Sparks fly as Maggie and Luke come to terms with their growing attraction. Will Maggie win the struggle to remain attuned to God's direction for her life, staving off her foolish, romantic notions--or does the Lord have a greater purpose than she ever imagined for leading her to New York?

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

Although the book focuses on Jacob Kane's middle daughter, Maggie Rose, I am most fascinated with the character of Luke Madison, Maggie's love interest. He has suffered a great deal of pain, loss, and disappointment, all of which serve to harden his heart toward a loving, forgiving God. It is interesting to watch the transformation of his very core once he begins to realize the power of Christ and what He can do with a surrendered heart.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

While this book has a strong romantic theme, it also carries a Christ-centered message of hope and healing. I think it will be a book that my readers will relate to on many levels.

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

Ha! I am often asked this question, and I always find it difficult to answer because I am not very familiar with the Hollywood scene. Therefore, I will have to beg off. Wait! Maggie is blond and pretty, soft-featured, yet strong and somewhat feisty. Luke has dark hair, a tall, lanky build, square-set jaw and gentle eyes. Maybe someone reading this will have some suggestions?

PhotobucketWell, I'll give it a shot, Shar. I keep seeing this young actress, Leighton Meester, everywhere (although I don't know what show she's on). She kind of fits your description.

PhotobucketAnd Jake Gyllenhaal certainly does fit the gentle eyes bill. But I think he's not quite lanky.

What do you readers think? Suggestions?


In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests an idea-generating exercise in which the novelist lets mental images of her past flit through her mind. The point is to jot down a one- or two-word reminder that might actually serve as "the germ of a possible story or novel." If you stop right now and do that, what reminder word(s) might you share with us? What memory does it come from?

I'm sorry to say I'm not familiar with this particular book, but if I understand the question correctly, I am to give you a two-word phrase that I pull from my "hat of childhood memories," something that might possibly generate a future story line. My 2-word phrase is simply this: "lakeside cottage." The house I grew up in was nothing more than a four-room cottage on a small fishing lake that my dad continually added onto as I grew up. My memories are of a never-finished house! Haha. We were poor as paupers, but rich in love. I envision writing a series of books set in the mid- to late-50s, and I'm certain it will be situated in a small town on the lake.

Cool! And we'll be able to say we know where the germ of that idea comes from! What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with? Explain.

I would have to say my favorite aspect of writing is absolutely, unequivocally the editing stage. I love rereading that first draft, even after I've already revised, rewritten, and re-tuned it to the nth degree. I struggle the most with just getting the story to its completed stage because I am a seat-of-the-pants writer if there ever was one. Often I don't know from one page to the next what's going to happen, and more times than I can count, I've found myself in a true pickle trying to work through a scene that I never saw coming.

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

Oh, my! An inanimate object? There is nothing very inanimate about me since I truly love life and laughter--but if I must come up with something, hmmm, I guess I'll say the white wooden sign that sits on my windowsill. It says "Dream." This word has deep significance to me because my very first thoughts of writing fiction came to me in the form of a recurring dream in the summer of 2000. I now know GOD is the One responsible for that dream.

Lovely, Shar! I love that question, because even though many authors balk at it--because we all consider ourselves too animated to be represented by something inanimate--the writer part kicks in and supplies something fitting anyway!

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


All right, not to sound super-religious here, but I HAVE to say the Bible. For the first time in my life, I have read the Bible cover to cover. Oh, I've read it in its entirety before, but always out of sequence, a book here, a book there. However, I just completed The Chronological Bible, and it has transformed me in so many ways. God has blessed me repeatedly for sticking to this program of reading His Word from beginning to end. I highly recommend it! And you know what? I'm starting over because it was such a refreshing experience.

It is amazing how many things you don't remember reading previously when you keep going back another time, isn't it? It never gets old!

What are you working on now?


I am currently writing Abbie Ann, book three in my "Daughters of Jacob Kane" series. It will release in April, 2010.

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

Please come visit me at any of these Web sites:

www.sharlenemaclaren.com
www.sharlenemaclaren.blogspot.com
www.shoutlife.com/sharlenemaclaren

I also have a Facebook page. Simply come to Facebook.com
and request my friendship!

You can purchase my books at Family Christian Stores, Barnes & Noble, your local Christian bookstore or any number of online marketplaces such as www.amazon.com
or www.christianbook.com

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF PARTICIPATING IN YOUR AUTHOR INTERVIEW!

Thank you, Shar, for telling us about yourself and Maggie Rose. Readers, Shar has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, June 8. To enter, leave a comment for Shar, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back this Thursday, when we'll hold the drawing for Tina Ann Forkner's Rose House. You can still enter your name for that drawing, under Tina's interview, below.

And take a look at some of the other excellent Christian fiction releasing this month!

1. A Case of the Heart , by Beth Shriver from The Wild Rose Press. An overzealous social worker develops a relationship with a cop while they keep her client safe from involvement in a drug ring.

2. A Dream to Call My Own, Brides of Gallatin County Book 3 , by Tracie Peterson from from Bethany House Publishers. Love and adventure still hearts in the rugged Montana frontier, while a killer threatens the peace and happiness of an entire community.

3. A Soldier's Reunion, by Cheryl Wyatt from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A reunion romance between a U.S. Air Force Pararescue Jumper (PJ) and a pediatrician and first love from his past who fears their careers will push them apart again.

4. A Family for Tory/A Mother for Cindy, by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Classics. Two stories that illustrate what happens when children decide to matchmake and bring two people together.

5. Above all Things, by Deborah Raney from Steeple Hill. Evette must decide if she can be a mother to her husband's 6-year-old mixed race child. A baby neither of them knew existed until a fateful phone call.

6. Child Finder, by Mike Angley from TotalRecall Publications, Inc. An Air Force Special Agent discovers he has a psychic gift that enables him to find missing children, but the government's exploitation of his skills leads to murder!

7. Critical Care, Mercy Hospital Series Book #1, by Candace Calvert from Zondervan. When a nurse initiates disaster counseling, the process re-opens her own emotional wounds--as God prepares her heart for a love that was nowhere in her plans.

8. His Forever Love, by Missy Tippens from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Can former high school buddies find love while fighting over "custody" of his grandmother?

9. Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio, by Lisa Harris from Summerside Press. Morgan finds herself torn between saving her sister's heart and losing hers to the man who jilted her seven years ago.

10. Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida, by Debby Mayne from Summerside Press. The attraction between Amanda and Jerry is overshadowed by their sense of responsibility.

11. Love's Pursuit, by Siri Mitchell from Bethany House Publishers. Susannah Phillips obeys the rules. But when love interferes, she faces a choice: Follow the rules or follow her heart.

12. Nosey in Nebraska, by Mary Connealy from Barbour Publishing. Murder, Romance, Comedy and a really big mouse.

13. Snow Melts in Spring Seasons of the Tallgrass Series, by Deborah Vogts from Zondervan Publishing. Mattie Evans, a young veterinarian in rural Kansas saves a horse inured in a terrible accident but finds herself tending the wounded relationship between a prodigal son and his ailing father.

14. Sunset Beach, The Beach House Series, by Trish Perry from Harvest House Publishers. Sonny Miller invites her mother and estranged aunt to a week at the beach, not telling one about the other; but they bring a few surprises of their own.

15. The Night Watchman, The Ray Quinn Series Book One, by Mark Mynheir from Multnomah/Waterbrook. When the case of a lifetime is thrust upon him, retried homicide detective Ray Quinn must decide rather he’ll succumb to his depression and pain or use the God-given gifts he still has left to catch a killer. Crawling from the wreckage of his former life, Ray struggles to find healing and purpose as he tracks a madman.

16. Witness to Murder, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a TV reporter witnesses a murder--she thinks--only unearthing the sinister secrets of her painful past can save her from becoming the next victim.

Happy reading!
 

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