Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's Wednesday! So That Means CFBA Is On the Tour Bus Again!

This weeks CFBA novel feature is Germ by Robert Liparulo. Since I came into the alliance just a few months ago, I've not yet caught up to reading the featured books, but this one has caught my attention. If you enjoy medical novels, like I do, I have a hunch you'll be drawn to this story as well.


Robert's novel paints a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.
Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. He has sold or optioned three screenplays.
Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.
He is currently working on his third novel.


If you breathe, it will find you...
The list of 10,000 names was created for maximum devastation. On it are business leaders, housewives, politicians, celebrities, janitors, children. None know what is about to happen...but all will be part of the most frightening brand of warfare the world has ever known.
The GERM...a more advanced form of the Ebola virus...has been genetically engineered to infect only those people whose DNA matches the codes embedded within it. If your DNA is not a match, you simply catch a cold. But if your DNA is a match, within days your internal organs liquefy and you die a most painful death. There is no cure.
The release of the virus would usher in a new era of in which countries are left without any form of defense, where one person or millions could be killed with 100% accuracy yet result in no collateral damage to property or those not targeted.
That time isn't coming...It is now!
GERM is coming. Pray the assassins get you first.

To order the book:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

ACFW Chapters are a Blessing!

I just love my local ACFW chapter. Last night was our first meeting as an official chapter which we're calling Chicago-Northwest. Right now we’re still small, but I’m guessing we will grow over the months ahead.

Last night Allie Pleiter spoke to us about how to deal with our lives once we are published. Something I can’t apply right now, but I took a lot of notes for the future.

But what I really enjoy is the connecting and encouraging that always happens. Last night I went there trying to decide if I should pay an editor to read through my manuscript and give me feedback. Doing this is a very expensive proposition. I honestly feel really good about my story now, but so many times I've felt comfortable with a story only to find out it wasn't as good as I thought. Even so, this is something I have to weigh carefully since I’m on a tight budget. I’ve been praying for wisdom.

Last night I was encouraged by people to query my story to a couple agents and see what happens. It’s something I’ve been needing to do, but haven’t done because I’m afraid. I’m more afraid of being rejected by agents than I am publishers. Now, isn’t that a hoot? Yet, to get my story in the door at most publishers I need an agent!

I’ve taken my friends' words to heart and am really praying about it. I have at least three agents I can query, and maybe that’s the route to go.

As I said, I love my ACFW chapter. Last spring I sold a magazine article by connecting with someone there. Who knows, maybe this time I’ll connect with an agent I’d never have had the courage to query if I hadn’t been encouraged last night? I can’t know unless I try!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour: If The Shoe Fits by Marilynn Griffith

No, you aren't seeing double. This month CFBA is reviewing not one, but two books by Marilynn Griffith! This prolific writer has TWO books coming out this month! A couple weeks ago we highlighted "Tangerine," and this week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about If the Shoe Fits (Steeple Hill Cafe', 2007) by Marilynn Griffith (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and mother of seven)


Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and Tangerine (Revell, January 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email:


Have Glass Slipper, Need Prince...

If the Shoe Fits is the second book in the Sassy Sistahood Novels. The first in the series was Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006).

In all my thirty-five years, I, shoe designer Rochelle Gardner, have never had so many men interested in me! My teen son's dad is back in my life after suffering from amnesia (yes, really). The church deacon has had his eye on me for years (and never said a word). And the young waiter (from the restaurant I've visited for singles' events) is trying to steal my heart. I've been struggling with my faith, trying to figure out which man God has chosen for me and wondering if I have the courage to step forward, on my not-so-pretty feet, to accept love. It's almost too much for the Sassy Sistahood to handle, but my girlfriends always have my back!

The book link:

Marilynn's website link:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thoughts on Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting is something I hadn’t thought of writing about here, but the issue has come up on a couple blogs I read. I’m talking about when a book is seemingly written by a celebrity but truthfully, another person wrote the book for him or her. Nowhere does the true author’s name appear on the byline. I’ve been uncomfortable with this practice for a long time because it makes something that isn’t true seem true.

I’m not bothered by books that have an “as told to” or a “with” byline. In fact, the story I wrote for HIS FOREVER was an “as told to" story. People who read Like Son Like Father know that although it’s told in first person by my friend, Frank, I wrote the words for him. Before it came out, I wasn’t sure how the publisher would show the byline and found myself struggling with how I would feel if it didn’t have the “as told to” format. Mixed in with the struggle was the question, would it bother me because I want to see my name in print or because it would make it seem Frank had written the story when he hadn't. I came to the conclusion that, although it's always nice for a writer to see her name in a byline, it would bother me more because of the fact Frank hadn't written the story. I think it would have bothered Frank too.

Upon hearing I’m a writer, a man from my church recently told me he was looking for a ghostwriter to write his life story. He asked if I might be interested. I told him that biographies are not the genre I write in, but even if they were, I was uncomfortable with the ghostwriting practice.

I just learned that a number of published CBA authors have been discussing the issues around ghostwriting and how the practice goes against God’s standards of honesty. Rather than repeat everything here, you can go to blogs written by Robin Lee Hatcher and Angela Hunt and read for yourself. I agree with them totally. The question of the day is will the practice ever change?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Life Lesson #2 - Patient Endurance

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become so used to instant gratification that it’s become almost a given. Want hot water? Pop a mugful into the microwave and nuke it. No need to fill a teakettle and wait. Need cash quickly? Drop into your local drugstore and pop your ATM card into a machine. No need to drive to the bank. Need information on a topic? Pull up a search engine such as Google and type a keyword. No need to drive to the library and pour over reference materials.

Want to sell your novel? Pull up a publisher’s website and insert your manuscript into a blank field. A minute later a contract arrives in your email. NOT!

Back in December, I came to a verse in Hebrews that jumped out at me like a Jack-In-The-Box. The New Living Translation of Hebrews 10: 35-36 goes like this:

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

At the time, a friend was going through an extremely rough recovery from surgery for a detached retina where he had to lay still on his stomach for weeks. The verse seemed the perfect encouragement for him. I pray that it was. As so often happens, what I first saw as something useful for someone else has turned out to be even more useful for me.

What works for wanting a quick bag of popcorn doesn’t work for book publication. And, for good reason. I mentioned the other day how I found an old manuscript I’d written. One I thought was well written when it wasn’t. Since the day I submitted that ill-fated chapter to a contest I didn’t win, I’ve endured and grown in my craft.

Have I endured my writing journey with patience? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When I’ve exercised patience I’ve spent time reading books on writing such as “Self Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King. That book is a must-have for any writer. Another essential is “Stein on Writing,” by Sol Stein. These are books that can be read and used over and over again. Another book I recently began, but haven’t yet finished is “Writing for the Soul” by Jerry B. Jenkins. His name has become a household word since the Left Behind series took over all the best seller lists.

When I’ve lacked patience, I’ve tended to want to jump to the chase and send out the manuscript before it's ready, have hissy-fits over hard crits, and question if I'm really supposed to be doing this.

I think the photo illustrates the principle so well. I have to wonder what these weathered hands have touched and done over the years. Probably powdered a baby's bottom back when they were more soft, stirred a spoon in many a meal for her family, and clasped countless times in prayer. Perhaps today, she is patiently enduring as she waits for word from a grown child who is too busy to remember to call her, or while she waits for a visitor to come to her door at the nursing home. What is key is that as she patiently endures in her waiting, she's doing so supported by God's Word. That is where the ability to patiently endure gets its strenth.

As I patiently endure and grow in my writing skills, God is building in me the fruit of patience. I'm not ready to toss out my microwave, but I can sure apply the principle of patience in other ways, most especially in my writing journey.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

CFBA Features Arms of Deliverance This Week

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about Arms of Deliverance (Moody Publishers, 2006) by Tricia Goyer (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and homeschooling mom!)

Tricia Goyer is one the members of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (Tricia's Blog, "It's Real Life" Tricia's Parenting Blog, "Generation NeXt") and we are pleased to be able to review her exciting historical fiction book, Arms of Deliverance. She was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. Tricia was also a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award and won ACFW's "Book of the Year" for Long Historial Romance in 2005 AND in 2006. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction (three other WWII novels, From Dust to Ashes, Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. Night Song, the second title in Tricia’s World War II series, won ACFW's Book of the Year for Best Long Historical Romance.) She's and non-fiction books. married to John, and they have three great kids whom she homeschools: Cory (17), Leslie (14), and Nathan (12). They make their home in Northwest Montana with their dog, Lilly.

The fourth and final novel in this exhilarating series capturing the tales of men and women swept into World War II.

EUROPE, 1944
Katrine, a Czech Jew, is so successful in her attempt to pass as an Aryan that she finds herself dating a Nazi officer. Having convinced him of her genetic purity, the officer sends her to stay at a Lebensborn home--a Nazi breeding program in which children are raised and indoctrinated by the state.
Meanwhile, two friends, Mary and Lee, one a socialite, the other a working class girl, land similar reporting jobs at the New York Tribune on the eve of the war’s outbreak. Now rivals with assignments on the frontlines of war-torn Europe, Lee joins troops sailing for Normandy, while Mary's destiny lies in the cramped quarters of a B-17 bearing down on Berlin. Before the presses roll, their lives will be indelibly marked by a caring American navigator, brave French resistors, and a maniacal Nazi officer. Arms of Deliverance is a story of unexpected redemption.
Read Chapter One on Tricia's Blog.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Life Lesson #1: Humility Must Come First

Humility isn’t a new thought to me. Ever since I gave myself to Christ over twenty years ago I’ve been well aware of how God calls me to be humble. Sometimes I’ve been able to take on that attitude, and more times than I care to admit, I haven’t done very well. As 2007 began God gave me a word for the year. Guess what it was.


One of the first things I thought of in thinking on this word was “humble pie.” That delicacy we've all eaten when making an apology for something we said or did. I did some quick research on the origin of ‘humble pie.” and learned that there really was such a thing. According to a Random House website , humble pie has its origins in early England. The pie was made of the inferior parts of the deer. These parts were called humbles. Who ate this pie? The servants, while the upper class ate the best parts of the deer in their pie.

The word servant hit me because that’s what God calls us to be. First, servants to Him and second, servants to others.

I struggle a lot with pride. It’s easy to see where pride can creep in when you’ve achieved something that wins honor for yourself. Perhaps winning a marathon, or receiving an award for excellence at work—or selling a book.

Without realizing it, I often find I’ve become prideful over the smallest thing. People sometimes approach me after church and rave about my sign language ability (I interpret the service for deaf people). At their words I can almost feel my heart swelling with what else? Pride. That is, until I realize the person doesn’t know one single sign. For all they know, I’ve signed everything wrong. It just looks pretty. That puts me in my place real fast.

James 4:6 says that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” I believe in my heart that God wants me to eventually have a book contract, but He won’t give it to me until I’m ready. When that day comes, it will come by His grace, and only when I fully give him all the credit for what He is doing through me.

Isaiah says that we are like grasshoppers compared to God who lives above the circle of the earth. Isaiah also says that God lives with the person who is contrite and lowly in spirit. I’d rather be a grasshopper in His presence with no book contract than a mega-contract author with an inflated ego.

I have a feeling God is going to teach me about humility in ways I could never imagine. He already has this week and it’s only the middle of January! That humble pie may be the most tasty thing I’ll have to eat this year. Pass the salt and pepper please!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Ray Blackston Title is Out!

Fans of Ray Blackston, your wait is over. His newest release "A Pagan's Nightmare" is being released this month and is the featured book of the Christian Blog Alliance.

Here's a brief description of A Pagan's Nightmare:

Christians can buy gas for twelve cents a gallon, while everyone else (the pagans, that is) have to pay $6.66. The radio stations alter all song lyrics to conform to "Christian" standard--the Beatles belt out "I Wanna Hold Your Tithe"; ABBA's "Dancing Queen" becomes "Dancing's Wrong". Even French fries, newly labeled "McScriptures", are tools for evangelism.
Larry's novel is a big hit with his agent, Ned. But Ned's wife..a committed Southern less than amused. And Larry has yet to show the manuscript to his new girlfriend, even though he's made her the unsuspecting heroine. It will take deft handling from both men to keep their lives and their relationships intact when the world witnesses
A Pagan's Nightmare.

Ray's website link is :
The book link is :

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Dear Diary -- When the Journey Began

Dear Diary,
Today we made a club and it didn’t get
finished. That’s too bad.

Good night, now.

Words taken from a diary kept when I was eight years old. Fast forward seven short years to a diary entry made at age fifteen:

I haven’t written for a long time, but tonight I just
have to write something.
Ever since that long ago day when, as a third grader, I received a diary for Christmas, I’ve been writing. Back then, my entries involved unfinished clubs and other eight-year-old-like activities. Later, boys entered my life, and the focus changed. Yep, that’s what I just had to write about in the second example—boy trouble.

But the point is I just had to write. I couldn’t help but write. I’m still writing today. I now call my diary a journal, but I write a prayer to God everyday. When I don’t begin my day this way, nothing seems quite right. I need that quiet time with Him as much as I need to shower and brush my teeth each morning.

I first thought my writing journey began when God put the bug to write for publication in me in the early nineties. Now I realize it began almost at the same time I was learning cursive! It’s been a road with a lot of detours as I struggled with other issues in life, but I kept being pulled back to the main road--the writing road.

A few days ago I came across an old fiction manuscript. One I thought at the time was good enough to submit to a writing contest. One look at the work showed me why I didn’t win. It was awful! I remember feeling frustrated back then because I was receiving so many rejections for my writing when people were saying how good it was. Now, I praise God my work wasn’t picked up. I wasn’t ready yet, and I’m still not today.

Last night I participated in an on-line chat at the Dancing Word website with Susan May Warren. Susie is a very gifted writer whom God has blessed. She is willing to teach what she’s learned about writing to other writers. Last night’s lesson involved writing dialogue, and we were able to submit a short scene to her for analysis. I came away with so many ideas to make my little scene come alive. I can’t wait to get to it and to others like it in my story. That's a key to writing success. Attend classes, be willing to put your work out there for help, and apply what you've learned.

I want my journal entry to someday read: Dear God, today my book was published. With your help, I finished it. To Your glory! Amen.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Read Tangerine by Marilynn Griffith!

My good friend, Mary Griffith, has a new book out called Tangerine! The Christian Blog Alliance is featuring her book this week. This is the third in her Shades of Style Series that has been so highly acclaimed. I've had the honor of sitting on the ACFW board with Mary for the past two years. I knew and loved her before we were on the board together, but now I know her and love her even more. Her wonderful sense of humor transcends so well into her stories.

Here's what the Amazon web site has to say about Tangerine:

Fans of Pink and Jade will eat up Tangerine, the third book in the cutting-edge Shades of Style series. Jean Guerra, a designer at Garments of Praise design firm, doesn't like surprises. These days though, the unexpected meets her everywhere. Since Jean's return to the church a year ago, her God-encounters occur with increasing frequency, along with thoughts of her husband-the one she vowed to divorce and gave up on long ago. The one nobody at work knows about, not even her best friend, Lily, or her boss, Chenille. But when the designer assigned to work with Jean on a line of men's suits shows up, her heart flips. It's her husband, Nigel Salvador. Jean is finally rendered speechless. Can her bruised heart become whole enough to love again? Or will she remain in the trenches of loneliness forever?

You can order Tangerine from Amazon by going to:

Marilynn's website: