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!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Annalisa Daughety and Free Books!

PhotobucketWar rages again at Shiloh, but this time it's a battle of the heart.

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Allie Pleiter's novella, Bluegrass Easter in the novella collection, Easter Promises, is:

jchoppes@ . . .

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 Annalisa Daughety, author of Love is a Battlefield (Barbour Publishing, October 2009).

PhotobucketAnnalisa Daughety, an Arkansas native, won first place in the Contemporary Romance category at the 2008 ACFW Genesis Awards. After graduating from Freed-Hardeman University, Annalisa worked as a park ranger at Shiloh National Military Park. She currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee, and works as an event planner. Her first book, Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio, released in September 2009. In October 2009, Love is a Battlefield hit the shelves. Love is a Battlefield is the first book in the Walk in the Park series. Each book is set in a different national park.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Love is a Battlefield.

PhotobucketKristy O'Neal gave up her dream job as a park ranger at Shiloh National Military Park to get married and move away. When she's left at the altar, she returns to the park to find her old position has already been filled. She accepts a seasonal position even though it is a step back, career-wise. Working alongside Ace Kennedy (the man who has her old job) is almost more than Kristy can handle. Throw in a matchmaking mother and friends who think she should put herself back in the dating game, and Kristy is nearly at her wits end. She sees the past as a battlefield of failed relationships and isn't sure she's ready to risk her heart again.

For Ace Kennedy, history offers proof that true love exists. With stories from the park's rich history in his arsenal, he begins the battle to win Kristy's heart. But when Kristy learns he's keeping secrets from her, her skepticism of love seems justified. Can she risk her heart on the battlefield of love one more time or will Ace lose Kristy forever?

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

Kristy O'Neal--despite the challenges she faces, her faith never wavers. Plus, she's a little quirky, which is always fun.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Love is a Battlefield is a lighthearted and fun read with a unique setting.

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

PhotobucketReese Witherspoon would play Kristy.

PhotobucketAnd Johnny Depp (from his younger days) would play Ace.

Tell us about your approach to writing a novel. Some authors use outlines, some write as they go, some take a different approach altogether. Could you give us an idea of the method that works for you?

I have a basic plot in mind and start out using that as a guide--but veering off whenever I (and my characters) see fit. After the first few chapters are written, I fast forward and write the end of the book. I know it sounds crazy! Once that is finished, I go back and do the middle--by that time I have an outline that I stick to pretty well. So far, this is the method that seems to work for me. I'm sure it will change and evolve as I continue to write though!

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you, and what creates a struggle?

The act of writing, itself is the easiest part for me. Once I have the plot and characters in mind, I find that the words come pretty easily. But figuring out the plot and making sure everything flows together is challenging. I probably struggle most with staying focused. I find that while I'm writing, I start getting ideas for other stories. Often I find myself jotting down ideas for future projects as I'm writing on a current one--I've come up with some good ideas that way, but sometimes it is easy to get sidetracked. When you're on a tight deadline, there isn't time to get sidetracked!

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

I would choose one of the brightly colored vintage aprons that I collect--because they're a little old-fashioned, but still relevant and useful.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

Probably Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones. It was such a great book about what happens when we let our fears rule our lives and how good it feels to conquer them. I loved the book!

What are you working on now?

I'm working on Love is Grand, the third installment in the Walk in the Park series. It's set at the Grand Canyon.

These are great titles, Annalisa!

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?


My web site: www.annalisadaughety.com
My blog: www.princessofpatience.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/annalisadaughety
Shoutlife: www.shoutlife.com/adaughety
Twitter: www.twitter.com/annalisa_

Purchase the book on Amazon.com and CBD.com.

Thanks, Annalisa, for visiting with us and telling us about Love is a Battlefield. Readers, Annalisa has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, March 6. To enter, leave a comment for Annalisa, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Kay Marshall Strom and Sandra Byrd, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels

Finally, if you'd like to enter a drawing for my latest novel, Sunset Beach, stop by Carman Boley's blog and leave a comment. Carman will draw a winner's name on March 4.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sandra Byrd and Free Books!

PhotobucketHaving earned her chef's hat, Lexi Stuart bids au revoir to her glamorous and deliciously satisfying pastry mentorship outside of Paris and returns to her hometown of Seattle, Washington where life is unexpectedly complicated not only by a challenge to her career by two men and a little girl.

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Christa Allan's novel, Walking on Broken Glass, is:

ecspiers@ . . .

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 Sandra Byrd, author of Pièce de Résistance, the third book in the French Twist series (WaterBrook Multnomah, September, 2009).

PhotobucketBest-selling author Sandra Byrd has published nearly three dozen books in the Christian fiction and non-fiction market, including her latest series for adults, French Twist, which includes the Christy finalist Let Them Eat Cake (2007) and its sequels, Bon Appétit (2008) an Piece de Resistance (2009). Her newest series for young adults debuts in April, 2010: London Confidential. Sandra's next series for adults will debut in June, 2011. Sandra also has a number of nonfiction titles available for women and tweens/teens.

Several of Sandra's shorter works appear in periodical markets such as Today's Christian Woman (Kyria), Relevant, Clubhouse, Pockets, Decision, Susie, and Guideposts. For nearly a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the many students she mentors through the Christian Writers Guild. Before turning to full-time writing, Sandra was an acquisitions editor in the ABA market. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children.

Wow, Sandra, I had no idea you had already accomplished so much! Impressive! Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Piece de Resistance.

Photobucket Lexi Stuart bids au revoir to her glamorous and deliciously satisfying pastry mentorship outside of Paris and returns to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. There, she finds life unexpectedly complicated.

With no place to live, she has to bunk at the guest room at her grandmother's retirement community; before leaving for Paris she'd given away her cute car so she takes the bus until given a company vehicle--a beast of a van. Although she was expecting only to bake, she's put in charge of a high-end catering bakery called Bijoux, which should be her dream job, but there's a catch: she has to make this lavish bakery into a successful business in just a few, short months. This requires much more than the ability to make an amazing wedding cake. Stir in a complicated relationship with her French beau Philippe and his daughter, Celine, then add a dash of romance with down-to-earth lawyer Dan, and life suddenly contains more ooh la la than Lexi can handle.

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

I loved them all. I felt most attached to Lexi, of course, because she was my point of view character and we lived the story through her eyes. I adored the grumpy, Gitane-smoking French sisters and their brother, Philippe. Celine charmed everyone, even me. And Dan, of course, drew me back again and again.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Do they like food? Friendship? Romance? A chance to look for the dreams that God has planted in their hearts and then work together with Him to bring them to life? If so, they'll like this book!

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

PhotobucketAnne Hathaway for Lexi.

PhotobucketAaron Eckhardt for Dan.





Gerard Butler for Philippe.
Photobucket

PhotobucketOh. And Betty White for Nonna.





PhotobucketAudrey Tatou (aged a bit)



Photobucketand Kelly Reilly (aged a bit) for the French sisters.

PhotobucketI don't know about Celine. Can I go back and recapture six year old Drew Barrymore?

Sure! We can time travel when we're dreaming, right?

This month we're considering sequels. What book (by another author) do you think is ripe for a sequel? On what would you like that sequel to focus?


I'd love to read a sequel to The Help, because I loved the fresh treatment of relatively underexplored topics and the characters drew me right in.

Interesting. That was Christa Allan's choice, as well. Are you listening, Kathryn Stockett?

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


I love the research. I hate doing outlines, because they are hard and I worry the pieces are not going to fit together just right. I love seeing my characters' lives unfold on the page. I hate leaving them at the end of the book or the series. I love writing things I hope others will enjoy. I hate reading hurtful comments.

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

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn. I think we have an image in our minds of Anne, that she was a harlot who stole another woman's husband, was loose, was snappy, was selfish. But that's just not so. She was actually a kind friend, a loyal daughter, a woman trapped in a society that had rules women had to follow with severe consequences if they did not, and even, as we see in her life, when they do. She was a strong Christian woman, a sister in faith to us. I don't think many people know that.

What are you working on now?

Amazingly enough, a series set during Tudor times, focusing on noble Christian women and their friendships, their careers, their faith, and their romances. It's tentatively entitled, Ladies in Waiting.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Please visit me at www.sandrabyrd.com and also at www.facebook/sandrabyrdwrites. The books can be purchased through my website.

Thanks, Sandra, for visiting with us and telling us about Piece de Resistance. Readers, Sandra has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, March 4. To enter, leave a comment for Sandra, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Allie Pleiter and Kay Marshall Strom, below, and leave a comment under each of their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kay Strom and Free Books!

PhotobucketWest Africa, 1787: When Grace Winslow, daughter of a slave ship captain and African mother, is caught up in a slave rebellion, she must decide: Will she be a slaver or a slave?

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Judith's novel, Somewhere to Belong, is:

LucieInCA@ . . .

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 Kay Marshall Strom, author of The Call of Zulina, Book 1 of the Grace in Africa trilogy (Abingdon Press, September 2009).

PhotobucketOf Kay Marshall Strom's 36 published books, four have been chosen as book club selections, 11 have been translated into foreign languages, and one has been optioned for a movie. She has also written numerous magazine articles and a set of booklets for writers. Her work has appeared in many collections, including several versions of the NIV devotional Bible. One of her best-known works is Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, which was packaged with the DVD Amazing Grace. A sought-after speaker for retreats and special events, Kay also travels the globe speaking out against social injustice, especially modern-day slavery.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Call of Zulina.

PhotobucketThe Call of Zulina is set in Africa at the height of the slave trade. It circles around Grace Winslow, daughter of a mixed marriage between an English slave ship captain and an African princess. Grace escapes an arranged marriage to a repulsive white slave trader only to run head-long into a slave rebellion at Zulina Fortress. Only then does she realize the truth of her family's business--the capture and trade of slaves. She must decide who she is and on which side she will stand--slave or slaver. Despite being held for ransom, viciously maimed, and threatened with death, she sympathizes with the plight of the captives. She is especially moved by the African Cabeto's passion, determination, and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people's freedom. Leaning on the faith of the slave who raised her, Grace risks everything to follow her heart.

Book 2, The Voyage of Grace, set mainly in London, comes out in August 2010.

Book 3, The Triumph of Grace, set mainly on the Southern plantations of the fledgling United States, will be available in Spring 2011.

What an intriguing series! Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote?

The main character, Grace Winslow. On one level, she reminds me of my younger self--never fitting in. On another level, she represents what I would like to be--someone who is willing to risk anything for a cause that really matters.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

First and foremost, The Call of Zulina is an engaging novel with compelling characters who are thrust into circumstances that require them to make life-altering decisions. But the unique slave trade setting also offers readers an appreciation of a little understood time.

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

PhotobucketHalle Berry would be Grace.

Photobucket






Denzel Washington would definitely be in there somewhere!

I'm sold, if Denzel's in it!

This month we're considering sequels. What book (by another author) do you think is ripe for a sequel? On what would you like that sequel to focus?


People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks. This wonderful book fictionalizes how the real life Sarajevo Haggadah, an important early Jewish volume, survived through the ages, along with the Jewish people connected to it. Brooks also wrote the intriguing Year of Wonders and the Pulitzer Prize winner March. Bring another obscure detail to life, Geraldine!

She really is such a compelling author. I would never have read Year of Wonders, had my book club not forced me to. It was a hard subject, but absolutely excellent.

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


Research comes easy. I love it. The final draft of a manuscript is the hardest. It's never quite finished, is it?

I hear you. It's hard to let it leave your hands.

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


I am an Energizer Bunny. I just keep on going. I'm not the world's greatest writer, and I never will be. But I am a good writer who keeps on working.

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

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. This book tells the saga of three generations of women in China who endured the political maelstrom of the 20th century. It was frightening and unsettling, but also too gripping to put down.

What are you working on now?

I'm just starting another fiction trilogy, Blessings in India. This will follow two Indian families through three generations, one a high caste family with a long background of Christian association, and the other their slaves--a Hindu Dalit (untouchable) family.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Come by my website at www.kaystrom.com
My blog address is www.kaystrom.wordpress.com

You can find The Call of Zulina available through most bookstores. It is listed on Amazon.com, and is also available on my website.

Thanks, Kay, for visiting with us and telling us about The Call of Zulina. Readers, Kay has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Monday, March 1. To enter, leave a comment for Kay, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Christa Allan and Allie Pleiter, below, and leave a comment under each of their interviews to be entered in the drawings for signed copies of their novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alllie Pleiter and Free Books!

PhotobucketA "veterinarian on sabbatical," widowed Paul Sycamore is not interested in expectant sheep, but the comfort his child finds on neighbor Audrey Lupine's Kentucky farm just may open his heart.

Here's something fun, readers: Because of a glitch with my email system, I recently unearthed more than 2,000 missing emails, dating back through October 2009. Among those emails were contacts from wonderful inspirational authors willing to appear on this site and give their books away to you. Since my interview calendar was already booked for my regular posting days, I decided to add Saturday interviews/giveaways. We don't want to miss out on hearing from all of these novelists, do we?!

So, through the first week of August, I'll be posting interviews on Saturdays, as well, introducing or reintroducing you to some awesome writers and their books. I hope you'll stay tuned, discover stories you might otherwise have missed, and possibly win a book or two!

And now let's meet novelist Allie Pleiter, author of the novella Bluegrass Easter, in the novella pairing Easter Promises (Love Inspired, March 2010).

PhotobucketAn avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Rita Award and ACFW Book of the Year Award nominee Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. She grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, spent fifteen years in the field of professional fundraising, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eleven years ago has given rise to a career spanning two parenting books, ten novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women's issues, and writing.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Bluegrass Easter.

PhotobucketIt's the final story in my popular Kentucky Corners series set in the fictional town of Middleburg, Kentucky. Librarian Audrey Lupine gets the whopping surprise on her tiny sheep farm when every one of her quartet of ewes ends up expecting. Good thing a veterinarian just moved in next door, because Audrey's a bit of a control freak and she doesn't handle any kind of surprise--much less the fleecy kind--well at all. Paul Sycamore, however, is trying to heal from the loss of his wife and hoping to step away from his veterinary practice for a while to focus on his writing and his young daughter. Put those two (actually, those three--or those seven if you count the sheep) together, and, well, chaos ensues. It's a story about the surprises in life and what they teach us. And, because I'm such an avid knitter, it's a story about sheep and wool and knitting, too.

I love the premise, Allie! And PETA will be thrilled you've counted the sheep as viable characters. (They read this site all the time, you know.)

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


That's like asking a mother to choose a favorite child! The Kentucky Corners series has a large, quirky cast, and I've had loads of fun weaving all of them into Middleburg's many adventures. Paul was interesting to write because the watershed between grief and hope is such a powerful place. Audrey's been near and dear to me since Bluegrass Hero (the first Kentucky Corners book), so it was satisfying to see her get her happy ending. Lilly, Paul's daughter, gets some of the best lines in the book because kids can get away with saying what we're all thinking.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I think the characters are authentic, funny, but very deep at the same time. If you love laughing through your tears--and I do--I think you'll especially enjoy this book.

Oh, yeah! As the Steel Magnolias character said, laughter through tears is one of my favorite emotions! I know so many people who agree.

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


Actually, I always cast my books with celebrities as part of my visualization process.

Me too!

For Bluegrass Easter, I cast Courtney Cox as Audrey.







And Neal Patrick Harris as Paul.








The sheep, naturally, would play themselves.

Full disclosure on Trish's part, here: these are not the actual sheep from Allie's movie. They're merely stand-in sheep.

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

My theater background makes dialogue come very naturally to me. I'll go whole pages with just dialogue, because I hear the argument or conversation so clearly in my head, then I'll have to go back and insert description and action. Which is funny, when you think about it, because I consider myself a very visual person.

My biggest struggles come in plotting--more precisely, plotting in advance--because I'm such a "story chaser" as my friend author Charlene Baumbich puts it. If I had it my way, synopses would never get written. I'd much rather not know how the book's going to end. My publisher, however, seems to have other opinions.

Yes, they're like that!

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


It'd have to be a coffeepot. I have a sleek, high-tech Keurig machine in my kitchen. It's speedy, makes one cup at a time in a gazillion flavors, and it's always ready for a new adventure. I'm a gadget hound--I love electronics and knitting gadgets, I love new adventures, and I like lots of different things. Gosh, I hadn't realized all the deep reasons I love my coffeepot until just now. Think I'll go make myself a cup to sip while I finish the rest of these questions . . .

Trish leaves for five minutes . . .

. . . and returns, coffee mug in hand. (I'm very easily influenced. If any of you readers are similar, go on and fix a cup. We'll wait.)

What is the last book you read that moved you?


I'm always deeply moved by Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series books. I'm in the middle of her latest, An Echo in the Bone (45 hours on audiobook!) Her characters have such depth, so many authentic layers, and she builds such a vivid world around them. She manages to put a very human skin on large issues, and I like how she makes me think about choices in history and choices between people.

What are you working on now?

I've got the lead book in an historical continuity series from Love Inspired that will come out in 2011, so that's in the active drafting stage now. I've just put the final touches on Mission of Hope, which is the sequel to Masked by Moonlight and will be out in August of this year.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Visit my website: www.alliepleiter.com and find links to purchase any of my books.

I write a knitting blog: www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com.

And my books are available on all major online retail outlets.

Thanks, Allie, for visiting with us and telling us about Bluegrass Easter. Readers, Allie has offered to give a copy of her novella to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, February 27. To enter, leave a comment for Allie, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Judy Miller and Christa Allan below, and leave a comment under each interview to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels, Somewhere to Belong and Walking on Broken Glass, respectively.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Christa Allan and Free Books!

PhotobucketLeah Thornton stops numbing her pain with alcohol, but discovers the road to redemption might still be under construction.

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Janet Dean's novel, The Substitute Bride, is:

tarenn98@ . . .

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 Christa Allan, author of Walking on Broken Glass (Abingdon Press, February 2010).

Tell us about yourself, Christa.

PhotobucketWith the exception of having spent some years in Texas, I've been a lifelong Louisiana girl. After college I started teaching high school until the mommy years. I have five children, who are now 32, 29, 26, 26, and 24, a son-in-law, and two precious grandgirls ages 4 and 2. My husband Ken and I have been married for almost nineteen years. We spend our time with our three neurotic cats, play golf, dodge hurricanes, and look forward to retiring one day.

Wow, that's quite a brood! It's a wonder you ever got any writing done!

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Walking on Broken Glass.


PhotobucketLeah Thorton's life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the façade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah's face about her reliance on alcohol to avoid dealing with her life, Leah must make an agonizing choice. Seek help against her husband's wishes? Or--put herself first for once? Joy and sadness converge and unwelcome insights intrude, testing Leah's commitment to sobriety, her marriage, her motherhood, and her faith.

Narrated by Leah, this novel starts with a funny yet tragic epiphany, setting the stage for a story dealing with difficult circumstances with dry humor. While the topics are serious, they're approached with Leah's sometimes sassy, often sarcastic, usually self-deprecating humor.

Oh, I love it already. I have a personal affinity for the humor/tragedy approach. I think many readers do.

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


For those who've read my novel, this answer may come as a surprise. Carl, Leah's husband, intrigued me from the beginning. I didn't want him to be a one-dimensional character and, in fact, he refused to be. I kept feeling that he had a story, but I just had to nudge it out a little bit at a time.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The enjoyment will come from the comic relief. Alcoholism and addiction are serious, heavy issues. I tried to balance that with characters and situations that would provide smiles and maybe even laughter.

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

PhotobucketMichael Rosenbaum who played Lex Luthor on Smallville, the television show, could be Carl.

PhotobucketJeanane Garofalo might be a good Leah; she definitely would have the sassy!

PhotobucketAnd Molly, Isla Fisher, with shorter hair.

This month we're considering sequels. What book (by another author) do you think is ripe for a sequel? On what would you like that sequel to focus?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I'd love to know how Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen were changed as a result of Skeeter's book.

That's been my sporadic read for awhile, Christa! I'm listening to it on CD--which I highly recommend, readers. Are any of you listening to it? But I have to keep returning it to the library for the gazillion other people who want to hear it.

Christa, I'm glad you didn't give anything away about the plot.


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

The easiest? Does "The End" count? Well, no, even that isn't the easiest because first you have to know you've arrived at the point you feel secure writing those two words! I tend to start with characters. These somewhat foamy images of people or their voices ooze into my brain. If they saturate, then I'm compelled to do something with them. The most difficult aspect for me to tease out of them is their backstory.

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

I think a key. My father used to own a hardware store, and I learned to cut blank keys. Hanging on a rack most of the blanks are difficult to distinguish. Like one key on a ring of dozens, I don't appear all that different when compared to a sea of humanity. But to be of any value, the key has to be cut, each individual notch has to be exactly right to fit the lock. And then, before it can be used, it's sanded smooth. Just like the key, there are notches and cuts I've experienced that help shape who I am, some quite painful, but ultimately I trust God will smooth those rough edges. I've spent too many years of my life trying to open doors that weren't ever meant for me. Then you learn to place yourself in God's hands, and He guides you to where you need to be, to the door only you were meant to open.

That's just lovely! I think you need to write a novel called The Key, and use this imagery!

What are you working on now?

Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary is shopping two proposals. I'm also developing a series idea.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website
Twitter (ChristaAllan)
Amazon
Cokesbury

Thanks, Christa, for visiting with us and telling us about Walking on Broken Glass. Readers, Christa has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, February 25. To enter, leave a comment for Christa, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interview with Judy Miller, below, and leave a comment under her interview to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of her novel, Somewhere to Belong.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Judy Miller and Free Books!

In an uncertain future, new paths must be forged by two very different young women. Can their restless hearts find peace in the quiet life of the Amana Colonies?

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Jennifer AlLee's novel, The Pastor's Wife, is chassan2@ . . .

And the winner of the drawing for Miralee Ferrell's novel, Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon, is paulalipper@. . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail addresses, and we'll get your books 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 Judy Miller, author of Somewhere to Belong (Bethany House Publishers, February 2010).

Although born and reared in a small suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Judy moved to Kansas at the age of seventeen and has considered the sunflower state 'home' ever since. She and her husband, Jim, are empty-nesters who live in Topeka. She enjoys reading, traveling, scrapbooking, researching history, and Bible study. She dislikes liver--except the one in her body that keeps her functioning and she also dislikes forgetting things--which happens more frequently than she'd care to admit.

Writing Christian fiction is Judy's second career. For many years she worked as a legal assistant in law firms and later worked in government law offices. She has retired from legal work in order to write fulltime--a vocation she considers both a ministry and a blessing from the Lord.

Judy has authored or co-authored more than twenty-five books since she began writing in 1996. Her love of history and her desire to point readers to the love and grace of Jesus are reflected in all of her books.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Somewhere to Belong.

Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages settled by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she's always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in Amana. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered. Is this where she belongs?

Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, so when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, her rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?

Johanna is a quiet girl who has grown up in the Amana Colonies and though she longs to see a bit of the outside world, she loves her faith and finds living within the rules of the Colonies a simple matter. However, when she is placed in charge of training Berta Schumacher to become a productive member of the staff that prepares meals in the kitchen house, Johanna's life is turned upside down. Berta has been living a privileged life, does not want to live in the Amana Colonies and does everything she can to make others understand she is unhappy. Through trials and tribulations, both young women must face numerous challenges as they attempt to discover where they belong.

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

Berta was fun to write because she was always getting into trouble. She simply refused to follow the rules and even though she ended up in trouble, she wouldn't change her ways. It took a near-tragedy for God to get her attention and make her realize that her selfish behavior was the cause of pain and injury to others.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The Amana Colonies (located in Iowa) provide a unique setting and an opportunity for readers to learn about people who thrived in a religious communal setting and lived simple, fulfilling lives. I think readers will also take pleasure in seeing the changes that occur with the characters in this story. Although Johanna is rooted in her faith, circumstances occur that shake the foundation of her relationship with her parents and the man she plans to marry. The same is true for Berta--her life takes a number of dramatic turns as she tries to decide exactly who she is and what choices she will make. I believe readers will see a little of themselves in both Johanna and Berta.

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

PhotobucketI think Nicole Kidman would be a good Johanna.

PhotobucketAnd Berta could be played by Natalie Portman.

PhotobucketJude Law would be great as Carl, the male protagonist.

This month we're considering sequels. What book (by another author) do you think is ripe for a sequel? On what would you like that sequel to focus?


Kim Sawyer's Fields of Grace. I'd like her to continue with Henrick, the oldest son as he navigates life in the United States.

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

I love developing new ideas and 'setting the stage' for my stories. I think what then becomes most difficult is the waiting until the publisher gives me a green light. Most authors have a great excitement for their story when the planning and development begins, but as we wait for the 'go ahead,' we start thinking of other ideas. I guess the long and short of it is that I don't like waiting. LOL.

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

Oh my--I'm not good at this kind of question. I guess an apple because it's round and firm and fully packed!!

Hey, at least it's firm, right?

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


I just completed Ann H. Gabhart's The Seeker. It hasn't released yet, but I read it for endorsement. The portion of the story that deals with the Civil War tore at my heartstrings, but what truly affected me the most was how easily people who are seeking religious truth can be led astray. It saddened me that such a hardworking, compassionate and innovative group of people embraced unsound theology.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently completing A Bond Never Broken, the third book in the Daughter of Amana series. Although these books are considered a series, each book is set in a different village with different characters so readers aren't required to read them in any order.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website is www.judithmccoymiller.com

I also blog one day a week (Wednesdays) with four other historical authors at www.writespassage.blogspot.com

My books can be purchased at christianbook.com or Amazon.com

Thanks, Judy, for visiting with us and telling us about Somewhere to Belong. Readers, Judy has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Monday, February 22. To enter, leave a comment for Judy, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

And leave a comment for Deb Raney below my post about her latest release to be entered another time in the drawing for Judy's book.

Check out my interview with Janet Dean, below, and leave a comment under her interview to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of her novel, The Substitute Bride.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Deborah Raney and Free Books!

Her second husband healed the sorrow of a tragic loss. Her first has just returned from the dead. Which man has the right to claim Daria's heart?

On occasion I feature a new release, apart from my interviews with authors. Rather than giving the author's book away, I simply add commenters' names an extra time to existing drawings.

This week let's take a look at Deborah Raney's novel, Beneath A Southern Sky (WaterBrook Press). First released in 2001, Beneath a Southern Sky has been reissued with a new cover as part of WaterBrook Press's new value line fiction.

A bit about Deb:

Deborah Raney is at work on her 20th novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Almost Forever, first in her new Hanover Falls Novels series, will release in May from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four grown children and two precious grandsons, all of whom live much too far away.

Deborah's awards include:

• 2002 RITA Award from RWA
• 2002 FH&L Inspirational Readers' Choice Award
• Book of the Year for American Christian Romance Writers (now ACFW)
• 2001 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award
• 2002 HOLT Medallion Finalist
• 2002 Aspen Gold Award, 2nd place
• Named one of christianbook.com's Top 10 Fiction book of 2001

What's the book about?

After two years of serving as a missionary in a remote area of South America, Daria Camfield has returned to the States to mourn her husband, reportedly killed while providing medical aid to a neighboring Colombian village.

One family discovers how God can redeem any tragedy.

At first, Daria finds comfort only in the daughter born to her after Nate's tragic death. As she begins to heal, she also finds a listening ear and a tender heart in her new boss, veterinarian Colson Hunter. Determined to move forward with life, Daria ignores the still small voice calling her to wait and accepts Cole's marriage proposal. But after the wedding, Daria's new dream life turns into a nightmare with the arrival of an unbelievable telegram: "Nathan Camfield found alive. Flying into K.C. Int'l. via Bogota . . ."

Now two men have the right to her daughter, her life, and her love. Will Daria return to her beloved first husband, abandoning Cole? Or will she reject Nate and choose the only man her daughter has ever called "Daddy"--a man she has come to cherish with all her heart?

You can read more about Deborah here: www.deborahraney.com

And you can purchase the book at Amazon.com

Leave a comment for Deborah, below, to be added an additional time to the drawing on Monday, February 25. Leave your email address (in case you win) like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Also, check out my interview with Janet Dean, below and leave a comment for Janet to be entered in the drawing for a signed copy of her novel, The Substitute Bride.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Miralee Ferrell and Free Books!

Against the backdrop of the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls in a historic Oregon logging community, a schoolteacher finds herself torn between a past love and the man who could be her future.

Before we chat with today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for Mainely Mysteries, by Susan Page Davis and Megan Elaine Davis, is:

rec@ . . .

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 Miralee Ferrell, author of Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon (Summerside Press, February 2010).

Miralee Ferrell lives with her husband of 36 years on eleven acres in rural Washington state. They have two dogs, two cats, one horse, and a huge garden that they both enjoy working in, in the spring and summer. Reading, horseback riding with her daughter, sailing with her husband, and puttering in her flower beds are some of Miralee's favorite pastimes. She serves on staff as a licensed minister (not a pastor) in their small church, ministering to women and leading prayer groups. She has three books out now and is another releasing in April. She started writing in the spring of 2005.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon.

In the thriving 1902 lumber mill community of Bridal Veil, accidents happened. But nobody expected murder.

Against the backdrop of the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls in a historic Oregon logging community, a schoolteacher finds herself torn between a past love and the man who could be her future. Sixteen-year-old Margaret Garvey promised her heart to Nathaniel Cooper the night he disappeared from town. Four years later, just as she's giving love a second chance with Andrew, a handsome logger, Nathaniel suddenly returns to town with a devastating secret. While grappling with the betrayal of those she trusted most, Margaret risks her reputation and position by harboring two troubled runaways who might be involved in the murder of a local man. As disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.

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

I actually have two favorites (I hope you don't mind!) and they're both secondary characters. Sammie is a thirteen-year-old girl who's taking care of her simple minded fourteen-year-old brother. Her courage, strength and fierce protectiveness towards her big brother all tugged at my heart and made her very real to me.

The second one would be Art Gibbs . . . a timber skidder who befriends Margaret Garvey and the children (after Sammie and Joel come to town). What was so fun about this character is that he was patterned after my great grandfather, Arthur Gibbs, who was a timber skidder, lived in Bridal Veil, and worked for the lumbering company mentioned in the book during that same time period. It was wonderful getting to put a little of my family history into my book.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

First, it's a historical romance with a lot of accurate history woven in, from the area where Bridal Veil once existed. It takes place in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, now a huge tourist area not far from my town, at the turn of the century. There are several plot lines, a bit of a mystery, a romance that could go one of two different directions as we have two potential heroes, and two youngsters who will melt your heart. I believe readers will be kept guessing as to who will win Margaret's heart, and possibly even finding themselves swayed from one hero to the other before the book is finished.

This month we're considering sequels. What book (by another author) do you think is ripe for a sequel? On what would you like that sequel to focus?

That's a hard one, as most of the books I've read in the last year or so have had sequels already. One that didn't was Hazardous Duty, by Christy Barritt. I'd enjoy seeing what new schemes Gabby St. Claire comes up with as she solves mysteries tied to her cleaning business. Christy did an excellent job bringing Gabby to life and I enjoyed her fun debut novel.

Oh, how wonderful that you chose Christy's book, Miralee, because she actually does have a sequel to that book, called Suspicious Minds. Gabby's adventures continue!

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

I'll start with my biggest two struggles with, as I think they're equal. I have a hard time coming up with a new and complex story line. Second, when I do come up with a new plot, I know my major plot points but have a hard time concocting the transitional scenes that will carry me from one major point to the next.

The easiest is creating believable characters, as that's something I look for in other books. I want to relate (and have my readers remember and relate) to the main characters, long after closing the book. I find that I can put myself in my characters world and see what's happening around them through their eyes, and they often show me what's going to happen next.

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

I'd definitely have to say the first four books of the Yada Yada Prayer Group series (I'm not finished with the series yet). They challenged my faith and my thinking in several areas, and inspired me to take a closer look at my own prayer life and the things that pull me away from having a deeper walk with the Lord. They're fun, as well as presenting a strong message, and I fell in love with the characters.

What are you working on now?

The working title is Outlaw Angel, a historical romance set in the old west. I don't do category romance, and typically have at least three to four point of view characters, as I like weaving multiple story lines and introducing strong secondary characters along with the main two. It's about a young woman who was raised in an outlaw band. Now that her father is dead she must fend for herself in a man's world, having never been taught the niceties of being a woman. She disguises herself as a young man and works as a hunter, shooting varmints for various ranchers, finally landing on the doorstep of a man and his widowed sister. When her new boss discovers he's hired a woman instead of a man, he must decide if he'll keep the attractive young woman on, or let her go and allow predators to keep ravaging his cattle. It's still in the rough draft stage, so I don't have a polished summary or a complete idea of where it's going yet, as I'm more of a seat-of-the-pants writer.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

I can be found several places. My website tells a bit about my writing life, my family and my books: www.miraleeferrell.com.

My blog is updated at least once per week and shares personal tidbits from my life, articles on marriage and family, as well as an occasional contest for a free book. I'm also active on Facebook and besides my profile page, I host Miralee Ferrell's Reader's Group.

You can find my books on Amazon.com. Or, Christianbook.com.

Thanks, Miralee, for visiting with us and telling us about Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon. Readers, Miralee has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Monday, February 15. To enter, leave a comment for Miralee, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Jennifer AlLee and Janet Dean, below, and leave a comment under each interview to be entered in drawings for a signed copy of each of their featured novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Janet Dean and Free Books!

PhotobucketElizabeth Manning will do anything to give her brother a good home, but her mail-order bride switch falls as flat as her rock-hard biscuits when her widower groom, Ted Logan, discovers he's not getting the bride he expected.

Today we're revisiting Janet Dean, author of The Substitute Bride (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, February 2010).

PhotobucketJanet Dean grew up in a family that cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. She married her college sweetheart and taught first grade before leaving to rear two daughters, but Janet never lost interest in American history and the accounts of strong men and women of faith who built this country. With her daughters grown, she eagerly turned to inspirational historical romance. Today Janet enjoys spinning stories for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical. She believes in love stories that grab people from the first page and carry them along the sometimes rocky journey of maintaining faith in trying circumstances. When she isn't writing, Janet stamps greeting cards, plays golf, and is never without a book to read. The Deans love to travel and spend time with family.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Substitute Bride.

PhotobucketThey struck a bargain for marriage.

Fleeing an arranged marriage, debutante Elizabeth Manning exchanges places with a mail-order bride bound for New Harmony, Iowa. Life on the frontier can't be worse than forced wedlock to pay her father's gambling debts. But Ted Logan's rustic lifestyle and rambunctious children prove to be more of a challenge than Elizabeth expects. She doesn't know how to be a mother or a wife. She doesn't even know how to tell Ted the truth about her past--especially as her feelings for him grow. Little does she know, Ted's hiding secrets of his own. When their pasts collide, there's more than one heart at stake.

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

I related to and enjoyed creating my plucky, determined heroine, Elizabeth Manning. She will do anything to give her brother a home, including marrying stranger Ted Logan. As a homemaker and mother, she's a "fish out of water," but no matter how inept she is, she never gives up. Under that spunk and sass, she's afraid of caring for Ted, having learned from watching her parents' marriage that falling in love involves a terrible risk. The emptiness she carries inside gradually brings her to God and from there, she's able to take steps to overcome her past and face the obstacles between her and Ted.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I hope readers will root for Elizabeth and Ted, two people who'd never met before they married, as they struggle to adjust to their differences. Until at last they're able to move from conflict to trust, and then to love, each knowing they've found the exact person God intended. On a less serious note, incidents in the story and some wacky secondary characters add loads of fun.

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

PhotobucketElizabeth: Kate Hudson. And Ted: Brad Pitt.Photobucket


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

Internal conflict comes easily for me. I could tell you dozens of things that happened to my characters in their pasts and how that impacts them now in relationships. I struggle with book-length external conflict, something tangible that keeps the hero and heroine apart, something so important to both of them that it threatens their happy ending and keeps the reader turning pages.

Someone has just handed you a box containing exactly what you need at this moment in time. It's not food. What's in the box?

The Bible is often just what I need. When I read Scripture, not only am I better prepared to handle the obligations of my day, I'm also more in tune with God. And I need Him.

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

Beth Moore's Bible study Jesus, the One and Only moved me, especially the last couple of lessons about the crucifixion and the enormity of Jesus' suffering. As for fiction, I'm reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Though I'm not very far into the book, I'm hooked and deeply moved by the experiences of the maids who served and raised the children in southern homes in the 1960s where lines were drawn they dared not cross. I suspect that's about to change.

The Help is one of the books I'm currently reading, too. Excellent and, yes, very moving. I'm amazed at how recently life in this country was so harsh and hateful with regard to African Americans. I'm actually listening to it on audio. The actresses add much to the experience.

What are you working on now?

Besides promoting The Substitute Bride, I'm working on a Love Inspired Historical for Steeple Hill with the working title of A Family of His Own. Pregnant widow Callie Mitchell and drifter Jacob Smith stand against the disapproving town when Callie turns her house into a home for unwed mothers.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Web site: www.janetdean.net
Blog: www.janetdean.blogspot.com
Group Blog: www.seekerville.blogspot.com
Love Inspired Authors: www.loveinspiredauthors.com

The book is available at Harlequin and Amazon.

Thanks for the opportunity to guest on your blog today, Trish!

Thanks, Janet, for visiting with us and telling us about The Substitute Bride. Readers, Janet has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, February 18. To enter, leave a comment for Janet, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Jennifer AlLee and Miralee Ferrell, and leave a comment under each to be entered in the February 15 drawings for signed copies of their featured novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roxanne Rustand and Free Books!

Someone's after Kris Donaldson. and they don't just want her hurt--they want her ruined.

On occasion I feature a new release, apart from my interviews with authors. Rather than giving the author's book away, I simply add commenters' names an extra time to existing drawings.

Today I'm highlighting Fatal Burn, by Roxanne Rustand. (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, February 2010)

A bit about Roxanne:

Roxanne Rustand is the author of 28 romantic suspense and heart-warming relationship novels, including eleven inspirational titles. Her 2010 releases include two books in her Big Sky Secrets series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense: Fatal Burn in February and End Game in June. In November 2010, Winter Reunion will be released, the first book in her Aspen Creek Crossroads series for Love Inspired. She lives in the country with her family, and a menagerie of pets that frequently find their way into her books.

What's the novel about?

Smoke and mirrors . . .

Someone's after Kris Donaldson. and they don't just want her hurt--they want her ruined. First, an arsonist tries to destroy her cabin, and evidence points to Kris as possible insurance fraud. Then an injured deputy is found at her place . . . with ballistics proof that he was shot with her rifle. Even Trace Randall, the arson investigator who's helped her before, seems to doubt her now. She has to prove her innocence, but how? Her reputation, her life--and her chance for happiness with Trace--are all on the line.


For more information on Roxanne, visit her blogs and website at:
www.roxannerustand.com
www.shoutlife.com/roxannerustand
The All-Creatures-Great-and-Small Place

Leave a comment for Roxanne, below, to be added an additional time to the drawings on February 15 and February 18. Leave your email address (in case you win) like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.
 

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