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!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cara Putman and Free Books!

Photobucket Step back in time to Hollywood during World War Two. Can Audra find her sister or will she end up chasing the killer?

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for A Hopeful Heart, by Kim Sawyer, is:

sherrinda@ . . .

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 let's meet novelist Cara Putman, author of Stars in the Night (Summerside Press, July 2010).

Photobucket Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara's been writing books. This year her 8th, 9th and 10th novels release, including Stars in the Night.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW and its conference committee. She served as the Publicity Officer for 2007-2008 and Membership Officer in 2009. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and currently serves as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- I love cats--always have. There's something about their sassy attitudes that attracts me.

-- I'm a Cornhusker through and through and nervous about my Huskers joining the Big Ten in a year.

-- I'm the oldest of four children.

-- My life tends to go in 8-10 year spurts: Georgia, Nebraska, Virginia and now Indiana.

-- My husband and I met at a Christian leadership camp for college students.

I have to say, this book cover is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Stars in the Night.

Photobucket Stars in the Night is a historical romantic suspense set in Hollywood during 1942.

When Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears in Hollywood, Audra flies there to find her, but has to identify her body instead. Determined to find the killer and bring him to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States as the stars sell war bonds. When Robert's ex-wife and another woman are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to her sister's. Is the killer the man she's falling in love with? And can she identify the killer before he targets her?

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

Audra Schaeffer is an independent woman who's taken on a man's job (attorney) at a time it wasn't accepted. But she puts her family about her desires. And she wonders if she can allow herself to fall in love with a man who couldn't possibly be interested in her. But even more, this story has a layer of God wooing her to Him and His truth--even though she's a Christian--that is so like the way God woos each of us.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It's set in Hollywood during World War Two. It has romance. There's plenty of suspense and a puzzle to solve. The action moves as the romance builds. And you've got the glamour and glitz of a special time.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?
Photobucket
Let's see. For Audra, I would cast Liv Tylor.


Photobucket And for Robert, I envisioned a classic Hollywood star. For someone contemporary audiences would relate with maybe Ben Affleck.



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

Imagining scenes for the most part comes easily. Once I know the characters and the bones of the plot, I can write very quickly because I see the scenes as they happen. I remember reading about authors who said they saw their books play out like movies in their minds as they wrote, and couldn't imagine that happening. But now I realize, that is what happens as I write.

The harder part for me is often forcing myself to sit down and get to know all the pieces before I start writing. I often get so excited I can't wait to start. Invariably when I do that, I hit a point in the book where I don't know how to continue and have to sit down and do some of that work then.

What era would you like to write about (or what genre would you like to write in) that you haven't yet tackled?

I would love to write a series of World War II novels set in Europe. That would be a stretching challenge. I have the idea, but the timing's not write yet. Hopefully someday!

What is the last book you read that moved you? 

I'm reading Petra, City of Stone by TL Higley right now--it will release later this year I think. But wow, it has a gripping theme of the spiritual struggles that go on around us and submitting our plans to God's. Other books that I've read in the last couple weeks that I thoroughly enjoyed were the The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen and They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti. Both are debut novels that border on women's fiction. But I loved them.

What are you working on now?

I'm writing my second novel in the new Guidepost mystery series Patchwork Mysteries. It's a fun collaboration where six authors write the novels in the series with one main character who keeps finding mysteries related to quilts. A very fun project.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? 

At my website: www.caraputman.com and my blog which is on my website. Also facebook and twitter (there I'm c_putman).

The book is available for purchase online via the following buttons:



CBD.com
360110: Stars in the Night


Thanks so much for having me, Trish.

Thanks, Cara, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Cara has offered to give a copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, July 5. To enter, leave a comment for Cara, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Carla Stewart and Margaret Brownley, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books.

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Margaret Brownley and Free Books!

Photobucket
He's a preacher; she's an outlaw. Both are in need of a miracle.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for The Healer, by Linda Windsor, is:

tstam3@ . . .

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 let's meet novelist Margaret Brownley, author of A Lady Like Sarah (Thomas Nelson, December 2009).

PhotobucketThrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this--except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

So that's what Margaret did. She now has more than 20 novels to her credit and has been published in 15 languages. In addition, she's written a non-fiction book and sold a two year story line to a CBS daytime soap (with her partner-in-crime Lee Duran).

Happily married to her real life hero, Margaret and her husband live in Southern California and have three grown children.

I love that bit about the church newsletter, Margaret! 

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- Failed 8th grade English (Diagram a sentence? Not on your life!)

-- Hated history (All those dates and battles. I'm just saying . . .)

-- Wrote my first novel in 5th grade

-- Geographically dyslexic (can't find my way out of a paper bag. I think my problem will be solved once the magnetic poles shift)

-- Directionally challenged (which means if you give me directions to your house, you better reverse them so I can find my way home again).

Oh, that last one is sad. And so me too! You think it's a gal thing?


Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Lady Like Sarah.

PhotobucketPreacher Justin Wells leaves Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying U.S. Marshal at her side, his journey takes a dramatic turn. When he promises the injured lawman to take his prisoner to Texas, Justin has no idea the trouble that lies ahead. The slightly-built prisoner turns out to be Sarah Prescott--sister of the notorious Prescott brothers--and she's determined to miss the hanging party waiting for her in Texas.

A Lady Like Sarah is the first book in my Rocky Creek series. I'm happy to say it's a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist. It's also a Women of Faith selection. The next book in the series, A Suitor for Jenny, is scheduled for a September 2010 release. 

What is it about your lead characters that will make your readers care about them?

Preacher Justin Wells' work ministering to Boston's upper class ill-prepared him for the challenges he now faces in the untamed west.

Though Sarah has no formal church training--and has had nothing but a hardscrabble life--it's ultimately her faith that sustains them as they battle Indians, gunmen, nature, an uncertain future--and their growing feelings for each other.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I hope the novel will touch readers' hearts--and maybe even make them laugh a time or two.

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

PhotobucketFor Justin, it's Hugh Jackman--yum, yum. Jackman's all man but he has the sensitivity to play a conflicted preacher.



PhotobucketSarah would be a challenging role. Isla Fisher's got the look and the energy to play Sarah and can deliver a humorous line. It would be interesting to see how she plays tough and vulnerable



Most writers struggle with the whole "show, don't tell" rule. For some, it can be difficult to even recognize when "telling" is happening. Please give us a brief example from your novel where you "show," and then write how that passage would have looked, had you "told."

From A Lady Like Sarah, showing:

She settled back on the canvas roll that served as a pillow, aware that her hat had been removed and her hair had come loose. "Who . . . who are you?"

"Name's Justin Wells. Reverend Justin Wells."

Surprised, she stared at him. She pictured preachers old and stooped-shouldered, lacking in humor. This one stood straight and tall, his broad shoulders straining against his white shirt, rolled up at the sleeves. 

"A preacher, eh?" 

"That I am." Her surprise seemed to amuse him, and a glint of humor danced in his eyes. His mouth turned up in a grin. 

"Talk about dumb luck."

The grin left his face and his dark eyebrows arched upward. "Is there a problem?"

"No," she muttered. "No problem." She lowered her lashes. Of all things, a preacher.

Telling:

She settled back on the canvas roll that served as a pillow and asked him who he was. He said he was a preacher. She couldn't believe it. He didn't look like no preacher she ever saw. She asked him again to be certain and he assured her there was no mistake. He asked her if there was a problem and she told him no. But of course there was.

LOL, that is the best example of telling I've seen all month, Margaret. Just about as dry as beef jerky! Excellent.

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

I enjoy developing characters and writing dialogue. I struggle with writing synopses--oh, boy, do I ever! I much prefer to write by the seat of my pants but editors get nervous about that kind of stuff and every once in awhile I'm asked to write a synopsis. At such times, I grin and bear it--and complain a lot.

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

I had to ask my family this question and they immediately yelled out Eveready battery and a high voltage wire. I do have a lot of energy and hardly ever get tired. I know, I know, it's a pain for those who have to live with me, but what can I say?

What is the last book you read that moved you?

The most recent book I read that moved me was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This book takes place in the south during the 1960s. I think the reason it affected me so much is because, even though I was young at the time, Martin Luther King and the fight for civil rights is still deeply ingrained in my memory.

I can't tell you how many times that book has been recommended on my site, Margaret! I loved it, too. Very moving.

What are you working on now?


I just finished the 3rd book in my Rocky Creek Romance series. I'm getting ready to work on a new series.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website is www.margaretbrownley.com
I also blog frequently on www.petticoatsandpistols.com

Margaret's book can be purchased online via the following buttons:



CBD.com
548092: A Lady Like Sarah, Rocky Creek/ Women of Faith Series



Thanks, Margaret, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Margaret has offered to give a copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, July 3. To enter, leave a comment for Margaret, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Carla Stewart and Kim Sawyer, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books.

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Carla Stewart and Free Books!

PhotobucketA tender coming-of-age story set in Texas in the 1950s where a young girl struggles with her own identity in light of her mother's mental illness.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for A Love of Her Own, by Maggie Brendan, is:

caree21@ . . .

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 let's meet novelist Carla Stewart, author of Chasing Lilacs (FaithWords, Hachette Book Group, June 2010).

PhotobucketCarla Stewart's writing reflects her passion for times gone by. She launched her writing career in 2002 when she earned the coveted honor of being invited to attend Guidepost's Writers Workshop in Rye, New York. Since then, her articles have appeared in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Saddle Baron, and Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine.

More recently, Carla received two American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis awards for unpublished authors. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, great books, and weekend getaways with her husband. Chasing Lilacs is her debut novel.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- I grew up in Texas, and although I love where I live in Oklahoma, my heart soars every time I cross the Red River into Texas.

-- The middle pair of my four sons are twins. One of my twins also has twins.

-- I would have loved a career as a character actor on Broadway--think Bette Davis type.

-- My husband and I once has a private tour of the Crown Jewels.

-- I worked for many years as a registered nurse.

You've had some interesting events in your life, Carla!

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Chasing Lilacs.

PhotobucketIt's the summer of 1958, and life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother's "nerve" problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.

As her life careens out of control, Sammie has to choose who to trust with her deepest fears: Her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious boy from California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there's the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past.

Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

My young protagonist is a bright, but very normal adolescent who has the responsibility of watching out for her fragile mother who suffers from depression. She wants to do the right thing, but is often torn between family loyalties and being with her friends. I hope readers will relate to her struggles which intensify when her mother takes her own life.

Wow. Intriguing storyline.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?


Because of the era of the story (the fifties) there are a lot of fun nostalgic elements, but along with that--a first love, the struggles of adolescence, and ultimately, the power of love and community.

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

Because of the time frame, I'm going with retro characters.

PhotobucketSammie, the protagonist, would be played by a young Natalie Wood (West Side Story).

PhotobucketHer friend Tuwana would is definitely a Sandra Dee of Gidget fame.



PhotobucketCly--the mysterious kid from California--was inspired by "The Fonz" Henry Winkler.


PhotobucketI'd go with a little more modern Nicole Kidman, who had red hair in Moulin Rouge, as Sammie's beautiful, but tragic mother.


Most writers struggle with the whole "show, don't tell" rule. For some, it can be difficult to even recognize when "telling" is happening. Please give us a brief example from your novel where you "show," and then write how that passage would have looked, had you "told."

Showing:

I kissed her chubby, round cheeks. "Shoo, get away from her." Mama pushed me away and picked up my squirming sister. She coughed even more--sharp yips that came from inside her tiny chest. Mama held her on her hip and jiggled the phone buttons under the receiver. "Come on, blast it, start working." Back and forth, she paced from the phone to the window looking for Daddy to come home, until I thought she might wear out the floorboards. Snow globs stuck to the window screen, and a fierce wind howled outside our front room.

"Where is he? Why doesn't he come home?" She tried the phone again.

Huddled in Daddy's chair with my knees drawn up, I peeked at Mama and tried to think of something to do, something to make Mama happy, to help Sylvia. When I got a wash rag from the bathroom and brought it for Sylvia's diaper change, water dripped on the floor.

"Now look what you've done." Mama threw one of Sylvia's tiny blankets on the floor to mop up the drips. "Do something. Just stay out of the way."

The wind made a flapping noise in the chimney and snow completely covered the window screen. Still, Mama paced across the floor, back and forth. Sylvia's cough got weaker and weaker until all I could hear were sucking noises in her tiny chest. Mama sat on the couch and rocked back and forth, kissing Sylvia's face even after it turned blue and her dimpled fists went limp. When I stood beside them, Mama squinted her eyes at me. Flashes of contempt. I wished I had been the one who died. Not Sylvia.



The scene "told" before I expanded it.

Born when I was six years old, Sylvia had only lived five months. Chubby, round cheeks one day. Barking her head off with whooping cough the next. Daddy worked on the rigs then, out in west Texas, and when the blizzard came, Mama couldn't get Sylvia to the doctor. The winds blew the phone lines down, and a ton of snow buried our car. By the time the snow quit, Sylvia had died.

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

Easiest: I love making up characters! But that is also the part I struggle with as I tend to let too many characters have their own story arc and subplot. I am trying to be more succinct and keeping my characters in line. Sometimes, they obey and other times . . . not so much.

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

Whoa! Is coffee inanimate? Let's just say it is, and a cup of coffee warms the spirit, is best shared with friends, and is dark, mysterious, and loved by others. I love being with people, encouraging them, and know I'm loved. And the dark, mysterious part is probably not me at all.

LOL! But I love your choice, Carla.

What is the last book you read that moved you?


Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. I loved the writing and the emotional pull of the story--a sad story with a completely satisfying ending--the two boxes of Kleenex kind.

What are you working on now?

Broken Wings will be my next novel from FaithWords. It has a strong nostalgic thread, but is the story of two woman in present-day Tulsa who become unlikely friends. It will release in the summer of 2011.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website at www.carlastewart.com
My blog is Carla's Writing Café at www.carlastewart.blogspot.com
Facebook
Twitter at www.twitter.com/ChasingLilacs

Carla's novel can be purchased online via the following buttons:




CBD.com
556552: Chasing Lilacs


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

Check out my interviews with Linda Windsor and Kim Sawyer, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books.

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kim Sawyer and Free Books!

PhotobucketCan she turn her second-best chance into a golden opportunity?

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for Forgiven, by Vanessa Miller, is:

kmkuka@ . . .

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 let's revisit with novelist Kim Sawyer, author of A Hopeful Heart (Bethany House, June 2010).

PhotobucketKim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- When I taught, I was prone to break into spontaneous poetry.

-- I've leaped from an airplane at 10,000 feet (I was wearing a parachute at the time...lol).

-- Years ago (*ahem*) I was a contender for the title of "Miss Kansas."

-- I have never, in all my years of life, been without a cat for a pet.

-- In seventh grade I won two state awards for conservation poster and limerick contests.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Hopeful Heart.

PhotobucketDowryless and desperate, Tressa Neill applies to the inaugural class of Wyatt Herdsman School in Barnett, Kansas. The school's one-of-a-kind program teaches young women from the East the skills needed to become a rancher--or the wife of one. But will Tressa have what it takes to survive Hattie Wyatt's hands-on instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands?

Abel Samms wants nothing to do with the passel of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. He was smitten with an eastern girl once--and he got his heart broken. But there's something about quiet Tressa and her bumbling ways that makes him take notice. When trouble strikes, will Abel risk his life--and his heart--to help this eastern girl?

Most writers struggle with the whole "show, don't tell" rule. For some, it can be difficult to even recognize when "telling" is happening. Please give us a brief example from your novel where you "show," and then write how that passage would have looked, had you "told."

SHOWING:

Libby careened out the door and nearly collided with two girls in the hallway. Isabelle Rowley's lessons on etiquette rose in her memory, and she automatically excused herself.

The pair looked Libby up and down before they exchanged a quick, haughty look. The taller of the two said, "You need to slow down."

"Or at the very least, look before you leave your room," the second one added.

Libby folded her arms over her chest. "I said 'excuse me.' And it isn't as if I tried to run you down. It was just bad timing."


TELLING:

Libby careened out the door. Two girls were in the hallway, and she nearly collided with them. When she'd lived at the orphans' school, the teacher had always told the children to use their best manners. So Libby said, "Excuse me."

Libby didn't like the way the girls looked at her with haughty expressions. The taller of the two said, "You need to slow down" and the second one said, "Or at the very least, look before you leave your room."

Libby bristled at their scolding tones. She hadn't meant to run into anyone, and she didn't care to be reprimanded by fellow students. She reminded them in a tart tone, "I said 'excuse me.' And it isn't as if I tried to run you down. It was just bad timing."


(Wow, this was harder than I thought it would be! I hope the examples make sense.)

Yes, I think they do. When you've gotten into the swing of showing, it can be difficult to deconstruct it to demonstrate how it would only be telling. But I think you did a good job, Kim!

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


Creating characters is pure joy. The people in my stories come to life before my eyes and begin sharing their dreams, why they want that particular dream, and what stands in the way. So it's very easy for me to build a character-driven story. The hard part for me is the conflict. I don't like conflict in my own life (lol), so it's tough to inflict difficulties on my characters. But no conflict, no story, so I'm learning.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

I'm a very avid reader, so it's kind of hard to choose just one. But I will settle on Jamie Langston Turner's Winter Birds. I was so drawn into this story, I didn't want to leave it. Told through a single viewpoint, I was still able to connect with every character because of the main character's wonderful observations. When I grow up, I hope I can weave a tale as deeply layered as Ms. Turner's story.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I am "in" an Athabascan Indian village near Fort Yukon, Alaska. It is 1898, and Clay Selby is trying to establish a mission school while facing the fierce opposition of one Athabascan woman named Lizzie. And boy, am I having fun.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

I'd like to invite readers to come by www.KimVogelSawyer.com for information on my writing and speaking ministries. Younger readers can pop by www.KatyLambrightSeries.com to learn more about Katy, an Old Order Mennonite girl facing the challenge of attending public high school and maintaining her religious convictions. I also blog once a week at www.writespassage.blogspot.com, sharing with five other historical writers (Robin Lee Hatcher, Tamera Alexander, Judith McCoy Miller, Tracie Peterson, and Cathy Marie Hake).

Kim's book can be purchased online via the buttons below:



CBD.com
205091: A Hopeful Heart


Thanks, Kim, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Kim has offered to give a copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, June 28. To enter, leave a comment for Kim, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Linda Windsor and Vanessa Miller, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books.

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

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Linda Windsor and Free Books!

PhotobucketA mother's dying prophecy becomes a daughter's living hope in the clan wars of the Dark Age Scotland of the historical King Arthur.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for Bride in Training, by Gail Gaymer Martin, is:

countrybear52@ . . .

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 let's meet novelist Linda Windsor, author of Healer (#1 of Brides of Alba, David C. Cook, June 2010).

PhotobucketMaryland Eastern Shore author Linda Windsor has written twenty-nine award-winning historical and contemporary novels. A mother of two and grandmother of two, she lives in an 18th century home called Forest Necke that she and her late husband painfully restored back in 1985. In addition to being handy with paint and wallpaper, Linda sang and played guitar and keyboard along with her husband in a professional country/Old R&R band called Homespun. She still sings and plays music at her church as well as speaks nationally for writer's conferences, churches and private venues.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you. 

Well, fiddle! I put those in my bio.

LOL! We want more!

-- I love refinishing antique furniture, interior decorating (in moderation), singing and playing guitar, cooking when I'm in the humor . . .

-- I have a black thumb, therefore I hate yard work, but appreciate anything that lives in my yard. Okay, I stopped counting. Math is not my thing. Is this enough?

Yes, you gave us bunches in those two listings.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Healer.


PhotobucketHEALER is book one of the Brides of Alba trilogy, Alba being an early name for Scotland. And this is Arthurian Scotland--and King Arthur, for that matter--as never seen before. The series focuses on three brothers, their respective brides, and how love and faith grow to enable them to survive those trying times.

Forced to live most of her twenty years in hiding from both her clan and the clan who murdered her family, Brenna of Gowys wonders how she can possibly fulfill her mother's prophecy that the Gowys seed will divide the enemy O'Byrne's house and bring about a peace beyond his wicked ken. Brenna's clan remnant would have her lead them to certain death against the stronger O'Byrnes. But Brenna is a healer, not a warrior. Nor is she the shape-changing wolf-woman of the hills as she's rumored to be by the superstitious clans; although she does have a gift with wild animals, including a pet wolf.

So when Brenna witnesses the ambush and attempted murder of a warrior during the annual O'Byrne hunt to find the wolf-woman, she does what she's called to do. She brings him into her mountain hideaway to heal him, even if he could be her enemy. All she knows is that he is not just wounded in body, but in spirit; that he'd been there as a frightened child when her family had been slain; and that she has seen a future with him. But is her faith strong enough to follow God's vision, no matter where it leads?

What is it about your lead characters that will make your readers care about them?

Brenna has a gentle spirit, but a strong heart. It takes a lot of faith and heart to step out of her comfort zone to do what is right, so one can't help but cheer for her.

As for Ronan, he realizes how he has wasted much of his life and taken for granted what he had. His spiritual arc shows a slow and steady growth from bitterness to wonder at Brenna and eventually trust in her God.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It is filled with romance, suspense and adventure to keep the pages turning into the wee hours. At least according to my publisher and agent, both of whom are male. I was thrilled when I was accused of robbing two guys of sleep with a romance.

Yes, that's quite a feat!

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


PhotobucketThomas Gibson of Criminal Minds would play Ronan, with his handsome, yet worry-drawn face. I could see the scar on his cheek, marking a nightmarish past and present with a demented and tormented father.

PhotobucketBrenna is so much harder to cast. Demi Moore in her younger days and not quite as ripe, perhaps, although Demi doesn't look bad now. I was amazed when I received the cover the day of my son's wedding rehearsal dinner and Brenna looked so much like my new daughter-in-law.

Most writers struggle with the whole "show, don't tell" rule. For some, it can be difficult to even recognize when "telling" is happening. Please give us a brief example from your novel where you "show," and then write how that passage would have looked, had you "told."

Showing:

A flash of white amidst the trees below drew Brenna's attention from the stranger with a start. Faol! The silver-white wolf had circled round and was stalking the man again. She bit her lip, subduing the urge to whistle for the animal to come to her. That would draw the stranger's attention as well. Though his horse nervously pranced along the bank, the man was thankfully oblivious to her pet's proximity. Aye, the animal would know what the man would not. Thanks be to God, the horse could not speak. The increasing wind wrapped the man's cloak about an able and muscular build, piquing her curiosity all the more. Had he a face as fine?

Telling:

Brenna was startled from her observation of the stranger by a flash of white. It was her silver-white wolf. It had circled around and was now stalking the man again. She wanted to whistle a warning to the beast, but that would draw the stranger's attention to her as well. It seemed like the man was oblivious to her pet's proximity, though his horse was prancing nervously, very aware of it. The wind wrapped the stranger's cloak around an abel and muscular build that made Brenna wonder if his face was as fine.

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

The research is easiest because I can never read enough about this period when Christianity struggled to survive and spread in a pagan world. And I've always been intrigued with the history and tradition behind the Arthurian romances. I chose the documented historical Arthur, Prince of Dalraida (Scotland) who was high king of the kings of Britain, not technically a king himself. He was a duke of war. And then there are the customs of this era and the fascinating metaphors in Arthurian romance tales that make sense if one is familiar with the culture and faith of the time. If one researches a book well enough, the research will write it. No fiction is stranger than the truth.

My most difficult task is dealing effectively with word count. I always overwrite, find that I've written 2/3 of the allocated count and have ½ the story left to do. I've just been through it again with Thief, book two of the Brides of Alba (ancient Scotland). The truly neat thing is that after God lets me stew for a day or so, He gives me the greatest solutions, usually around 4 to 6 AM, hours I never see unless I'm plot-befuddled. And I know this change will surprise the reader because this new ending is one to me. I love God as a writing partner.

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

My first thought was a corpse. But then I don't have much in common with that. (I've been watching too many crime shows!) A book is probably chosen often, but I can relate to a book. Books are meant to be held. I like that. There is so much more to the book than its cover and it can give again and again.

I would have loved to hear you relate yourself to the corpse . . . 

What is the last book you read that moved you?

Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesusby Dr. Ron Moseley. It was illuminating, deepening my understanding of my faith and the faith and methods of teaching in the original church. The more I understand, the more I am able to witness. That is why the Dark Age research is so important, especially as it concerns the Christian witness to a pagan world. Holy Cow, the same principles can be applied to New Age today.

Many know how this same kind of research helped me reach my daughter after she'd been stalked and assaulted in college, turned against God, and got involved in Wicca-white witchcraft. I could take her step by step through the same rationale used by the early Christians. It was enough to make her think. God did the rest. She came back to Christ on Mother's Day 2004. What a gift from God and her!

What a fantastic story, Linda! I love that!

What are you working on now?


I'm working on the second Brides of Alba book, Thief. This is a challenge because the hero in this book was the villain in Healer. He is Caden, the middle brother. And as different as Caden is from Ronan, Sorcha is ever so different from the faithful, stalwart Brenna. She's a thief. But her journey to faith, given hope by the forgiveness of the thief on the cross, and Caden's struggle to accept God's forgiveness and live a life for God make for an exciting story and tempestuous romance with God at the center. He's the only One who can pull this one off.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

I hope they'll stop by my website at www.LindaWindsor.com and check out my book excerpts, enter contests and maybe sign up for my Umpthly Newsletter. (Umpthly is a Windsorism meaning it comes out only when I have something to say.)

Very A. A. Milne sounding!

The book is available for purchase online via the buttons below:




CBD.com
764782: Healer, Brides of Alba Series #1

Thanks so much, Trish, for inviting me by.

Thanks, Linda, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Linda has offered to give a copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, June 26. To enter, leave a comment for Linda, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Maggie Brendan and Vanessa Miller, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books.

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

Friday, June 18, 2010

Robin Lee Hatcher and Free Books!

Who says a woman can't keep a secret?

On occasion I feature a new release, apart from my interviews with authors. Readers, please note: 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 Robin Lee Hatcher's novel, A Matter of Character (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series, Zondervan, June 2010).

A little about Robin Lee:

The author of over 60 books, best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She makes her home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family and her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet. She invites you to drop by her web site and her Facebook Page to learn more about her and her books.

About the book:

It's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs. But Daphne has a secret.

A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villain known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers. Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories . . . except Daphne.

When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life.

View the book trailer HERE

The book is available for purchase online via the following buttons:




CBD.com
258070: A Matter of Character, Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series #3


Robin's website: www.robinleehatcher.com
Robin on Facebook

Leave a comment for Robin, below, to be added an additional time to the drawing on Thursday, June 24. 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. See full disclaimer HERE.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brenda Lott (Maggie Brendan) and Free Books!

PhotobucketApril McBride has everything her heart desires . . . except the one thing money can't buy. 

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for The Gunsmith's Gallantry, by Susan Page Davis, is:

ryanx6@ . . .

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 let's revisit novelist Maggie Brendan, author of A Love of Her Own (Revell, June 2010).

PhotobucketMaggie Brendan is a member of the American Christian Writers (ACW), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She has authored three books in her series, Heart of the West.

Her first book, No Place For a Lady, in the Heart of the West series, received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times. The Jewel of His Heart, book two, received a 4 star review from Romantic Times. A Love of Her Own will release in June 2010. She has begun writing another historical series called The Blue Willow Brides.

A TV film version of No Place for a Lady is currently in development for possible movie production. Maggie is married with two grown children and four grandchildren. She lives in Marietta, GA.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- I love to chew bubble gum while I'm writing.

-- I can't survive without my coffee.

-- I wished I lived in Colorado on a ranch.

-- I spoke at a Bookstore and Libraries conference on the value of Christian Fiction.

-- I know how to hang and float gyp board. (sheetrock), (but never want to again).

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Love of Her Own.

PhotobucketA Love of Her Own is the conclusion of Heart of the West series. April McBride travels to attend her brother's wedding. Still cautious after a broken engagement, she fully intends to guard her heart. One look around the small mining town convinces April that doing so won't be difficult--just a bunch of dusty shops, bad service, and ill-bred cowboys. But a run-in with horse trainer Wes Owen opens up vast possibilities for frustration, embarrassment, friendship, and . . . love?

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

Readers will care about April McBride because she already has everything her heart desires, except love. Not until she meets Wes Owen in Montana, does she discover who she really is, other than her father's daughter.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I think they will enjoy this fast-paced ride into Montana and how completely opposite the heroine and hero are. A Love of Her Own explores the heart of the individual when his or her life is graced by love.

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

PhotobucketKeith Urban could play the role of Wes Owens.

PhotobucketApril McBride would be played by Yvonne Strahovski.



Most writers struggle with the whole "show, don't tell" rule. For some, it can be difficult to even recognize when "telling" is happening. Please give us a brief example from your novel where you "show," and then write how that passage would have looked, had you "told."

Here's just a small example: Showing:

"Mr. Kincaid! Where in the world in my trunk?" She sashayed in like she owned the entire worn-out depot. "I was told that it was left on the porch here until I could have it transported."

Telling:

April entered the worn-out depot and demanded to know why her trunk wasn't left on the porch as she'd been told.

Sweet and simple, Maggie! You make it easy to see.

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

I'm usually good at describing the setting or scene and have no trouble writing in multiple POV's. Sometimes I have trouble making it very clear what the character's motivation is. My stories are typically character driven.

What era would you like to write about (or what genre would you like to write in) that you haven't yet tackled?

I'd like to try my hand at a contemporary novel one day.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

One that I recently read was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Being from Mississippi and growing up in the 60's during the time of civil rights, remind me how far we've come since those days. It was a page turner!

Yes, that book has been mentioned here several times. It was one of my favorite reads this year, too. And you're right. It's amazing to think those days were really not long ago. 

What are you working on now?

My next series is called The Blue Willow Brides. It's about a mail order bride and her two sisters. Book One, I've titled Deeply Devoted.

And I was asked by LifeWay to book sign at the Southern Baptist Convention on June 14.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

I can be found on my blog, southernbellewriter.blogspot.com and I'm a resident blogger on bustlesAndspurs.com.

The book is available for online purchase via the buttons below:




CBD.com
733513: A Love of Her Own, Heart of the West Series #3


Thanks, Maggie, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Maggie has offered to give a copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, June 19. To enter, leave a comment for Maggie, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Gail Gaymer Martin and Vanessa Miller, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books.

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

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