Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
THE DEAD WHISPER ON
(Bethany House July 1, 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tony is the author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus. He has been an advertising agency owner/principal, a trade amgazine editor, and now a novelist.He has been a professional writer for more than 15 years with articles appearing in publications as varied as Log Homes, Conservative Theological Journal, and Travel & Leisure. He is also Creative Director at Montana's largest advertising agency.His long list of past odd jobs includes trimming Christmas trees, sorting seed potatoes, working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and cleaning cadaver storage rooms.As a teen he was undefeated in air guitar competitions in which he performed songs by ZZ Top.He lives in Montana with his wife and daughter.
"Chilling!" Publishers Weekly
"...a well-paced suspense populated by dynamic
characters." Kirkus Discoveries
Buy it at Amazon
Monday, August 27, 2007
That's Allie Pleiter, Maureen Lang and Julie Dearyan in the back row. Sally and I are in the front row.
That's all I have for today. Just a picture to share :-). I'm busy working on my first person version and increasing the word count. I've been trying to take off a few pounds. Wish I could decrease my weight in sync with the increase in my words LOL.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
(Multnomah Fiction August 21, 2007)
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Truth Chasers Book Three
Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.
The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line. Creston Mapes, Author of Nobody.
Buy it at Amazon
Monday, August 20, 2007
Heather if you'll let me know where to send your book privately I'll get it off to you. Thanks everyone for entering, and I hope you'll get a copy of Beth's book so you can all enjoy it like I did.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This isn't a post about writing. The scene I saw yesterday will never make it into a story of mine. I can't stand to see kids and animals abused, nor can I stand to write about it. Maybe as back story told in a way that shows a positive character arc, or perhaps I'll use the angry emotion that exploded within me in a different type of scene.
Chicagoland has had a hot and muggy August thus far, but yesterday proved to be a deviation from the norm. Sun shining, temperature about 80 degrees, nice breeze. I'd just returned from Sam's and was hauling in my "stuff" when I stopped to chat with my neighbor on her patio. As I was heading for the door to get my frozen things into the freezer, I heard a man's voice yelling "Get back here!" I turned. Across the way a large dog was kind of slinking across the grass away from the yelling man. The dog eventually stopped and retreated toward his master, slinking even lower to the ground. The man came up to the the dog and started beating him across his back and yelling in a loud, mean-sounding voice. The dog never whimpered, never barked. I must hasten to add that the dog walks with with a stiffened gait and looks to be elderly. Now I wonder if he isn't crippled thanks to that bully of an owner.
The old adage to think before you speak totally left me and I yelled at the guy to stop beating the dog. He turned toward my voice and I yelled it again. Then he said the dumbest thing. "Go get your own dog and you can beat him." Huh?? I shouted back that I would never beat a dog, that his dog depends on him and to stop hurting him. I shocked myself, realizing it was pretty risky to yell at a person so hot-tempered like that. For all I knew he'd come over and start beating me. Unlikely, though, since we were in bright daylight and my neighbor was sitting right there.
Man, I felt awful for that dog. It still sickens me. I immediately went over to my neighbor's German Shepherd who was sitting on the patio and gave her love. If I couldn't hug that poor beaten up dog, I could love on some dog. Then I came upstairs to my condo and loved on my cat.
That's Chessie on the left. The dog at the top is a stock photo, but doesn't he look like he wants a hug?
I've been praying that somehow my admonishment has planted some seeds in that bully's head that he needs to clean up his act and take some anger-management counseling. One thing I know for sure. If I see that man do that again I'm reporting him.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Beth was kind enough to answer a few questions of mine about what went on behind the scenes as she developed this story and her characters. I think you'll enjoy this interview.
And, after you have finished reading please be sure to leave a comment by clicking on "comment" . I will draw a name to win your own copy of Off the Record next Monday, August 20th. Don't forget to leave info on how I can reach you.
1. Beth, your characterizations were strong and written in close POV or deep POV as some call it. What is your method for developing your characters? How much did they tell you about themselves after you started writing? Did any change a lot by the end of the book in a way that surprised you? Did you base any of these characters on people you know—not an exact copy LOL—or were they strictly from your imagination.
To know that my characters are vivid and memorable is a high compliment. Thanks! Character development for me often starts with a vivid mental image of the physical person. And that physical image usually springs from their function/place in the story.
For example, in Off the Record I started with Laurel, a highly educated woman with strong enough self-confidence to run for a high state office. So I imagined a strong physical presence as well. Tall, beautiful in an off-beat way, dramatic coloring. But...why would a woman like that not already be married at the age of 32? Because she intimidates most men. She's been raised in a well-to-do family with good connections (which is how she could afford law school and the money it takes to run a statewide campaign). So what would her family be like?...Those are the kinds of questions I ask myself before I begin to write. Some of it I write down as notes in a Word document, paragraph style. Some of it is in my head. But as I develop the character, usually someone I know who may be similar in either appearance or personality will appear in my head. When I get to a situation where the character must make a decision or respond to someone else's dialogue, I picture what that real-life person would do or say. It's like a game of chasing reactions to stimuli--based on the character's background, temperament, emotions--and I have to keep switching my own point of view so that I put myself inside that person's skin. Sometimes I get it wrong, or I exaggerate for dramatic effect, and an editor or critiquer like my husband will reel me in with a challenge. It's a very weird, messy process.
I don't do those character interview charts or biography sheets. They make me freeze.Do the characters change as I write? Yes, because I do learn about them as I go. Some of that is because I'm the puppet-master, and I know what I want to happen. So I tinker with the backstory to make it plausible. I love backstory. Usually before I begin a novel, I will freewrite, as if I were writing a character's diary, about some event that occurred way in the past. Some event that triggers or deeply affects what happens in the present story. That freewriting won't be in the actual novel, except in fragments of dialogue or stream-of-consciousness thought. But it undergirds the narrative like an imbedded stream of water that seeps to the surface occasionally and feeds the growth of the story.Do the characters surprise me? Yes, and that's the coolest thing about this. Often a line of dialogue will pop out naturally from the flow of a scene, and I'll think, "Now where did that come from?" So I track it down to see if it fits the character. Maybe it doesn't exactly, so I have to either delete it (painful) or adjust backstory. Or maybe the story yaws off in a completely different direction than I'd anticipated.
Like the line at the end of Chapter One, which told me that Laurel and Cole had had a physical relationship in the past. That was a pretty powerful surprise. As far as basing characters on people I know, like I said, I start with a character type and refine until they become real individuals. I know people who are just as strong and admirable as my lead characters, but they don't have the same traumas. The secondaries start out as sidekicks as needed, then they develop as I go.
Usually I'm looking for "foils" to the hero and heroine. If you have sisters, like Gilly and Laurel, they're going to share some environmental characteristics--the bossy, self-absorbed mother, for example--but Gilly is sixteen years younger than Laurel, so of course she's going to have a different take on circumstances. Why did I make Gilly 16 years younger? I honestly don't remember, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.A lot of a novelist's job is armchair psychology. Why do people behave the way they do? I study and listen to people constantly. I find myself interviewing if I meet someone interesting. It's a lot of fun.
2. Since my (Pam) family hails from Alabama on my mom’s side, I was caught up in Laurel’s travels as she campaigns about the state. The few places I’ve been that you used obviously came to life for me because I’d been there, but even the places I haven’t been I could feel and experience as though I had been there. Did you actually visit all the sites you used in the story? How did you pick which places she would visit while she was campaigning?
I was looking for interesting sites. I visited the Judicial Building in Montgomery, and I've been to all the places in Mobile that Laurel went to. I haven't been to the Chicken and Egg Festival or the Bollweevil Museum, but there are fascinating web sites with pictures and stuff that were really helpful. I corresponded with a woman who wrote the Bollweevil Museum's history. Even without actually going to those places, I have a really good imagination, and I've been to enough places like them in Alabama and Mississippi that I could pretty well capture the essence of them--I hope! I thought about having her visit Talladega and the Space Center in Huntsville, but just couldn't figure out how to work it in. Story rules.
3. Where did the idea for On the Record come from? In other words, trace it’s first inception to finished manuscript.
Woo. That's a big question. A couple of years ago I read a newspaper article about a female judge announcing her candidacy for Alabama Supreme Court chief justice (in Alabama judges are elected). If she won, she would be the first woman in that position. I thought that would make a cool story premise, so I tried to think of what could keep an otherwise qualified judge from winning. And I was writing a romance, so I tried to figure out a way to involve the hero to block her. Who would be an antagonist to a candidate? A private detective hired by her opponent--if she had some kind of secret in her past--or a reporter. Or maybe both! So Cole became the reporter, working hand-in-hand with Matt Hogan, the detective, who in turn was working for the nasty George Field.Once I had an idea what the story parameters were--who the main characters were--it was a matter of interviewing people who actually work in those professions, and asking what would be the worst and funniest things that could happen. Then you let those things happen in the story. I interviewed a professional campaign manager, a female judge, and a reporter. I hung out on a private detective's website and blog. That was really a lot of fun.
4. Cara Putman on her blog gave you a great review. She stated that as an attorney she’s skeptical of authors writing about attorneys and other legal types if they aren’t attorneys themselves. She came away from On The Record highly impressed that you portrayed Judge Laurel’s working life accurately and that you had done your homework. How much research did you have to do? How important was it to portray that side of Laurel’s life accurately even though the plot basically centered on her personal relationship with Cole and her campaign to be Chief Judge for the state of Alabama?
I really appreciate it when my research is acknowledged. It's very important to me to get things as "right" as I can. I have a very good friend who's a single female attorney, and she did a lot of the initial brainstorming with me. She has connections in the Mobile legal community, and she took me with her to a meeting of the Christian Legal Society. She also introduced me to a Christian female judge, who allowed me to observe her court and sit in her chambers as she negotiated with lawyers (all this with prior consent from the lawyers involved). So Laurel is based on these two brilliant women, with her own personal angst created by my imagination. After I wrote the scenes in the courtroom and Laurel's chambers, I had my friend read them for accuracy. She corrected me on a couple of minor counts, and also tweaked the "lawyer" lingo. Some of it I picked up just listening to her over the years. Also, I have a pretty good ear for terminology, just from doing a lot of reading.
5. What else is on Beth White’s plate for future novels?
Controlling Interest will come out in April from Zondervan. Matt Hogan is the hero, trying to rescue his detective agency after the George Fields Debacle, while negotiating a competition with his unwanted new partner, Natalie Tubberville. Did you ever see the old Bruce Willis-Cybil Shepherd show Moonlighting? That'll give you a flavor of Controlling Interest.In the meantime I'm developing a story based on the further adventures of Gilly Kincade. I don't know enough to tell you much now, but she's a rising New York ballet star. It's a Zondervan release scheduled for next December.Also, I'm in the midst of hacking a bunch of word count out of a Civil War suspense for Love Inspired Historicals. Submarines (yes, there was one way back then). Underground Railroad. Blockade runners. Cool stuff. It will release November 08. And soon I'll be working on its sequel, which will release a year later. That one will feature a runaway daughter of missionaries who wants to attend Tulane Medical College. She falls in love with her arch rival. Picture Grey's Anatomy in 1879 New Orleans, without all the skanky sex scenes.
Thanks for asking such hard questions. Thanks for your interest. May the Lord bless your ministry here.
If you don't win your copy of Off the Record here, you can buy it at Amazon.
Woo hoo. Beth's future books sound wonderful. I can't wait to read them.
Remember to leave a comment to win your own copy of Beth's Off the Record. Drawing is Monday, August 20th.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
My writing life is starting to read like a novel. One of the key components of a good plot is Goals, Motivation and Conflict. My goals are to sell my novel as that is what God seems to be calling me to do and glorifying Him in the process, see my work published, give others pleasure by entertaining them with a good story, and grow in my writing ability through the experience. I'm motivated to do this by many of these goals, not to mention that an additional "pay check" would be nice :-). The conflict is there through the many times I've had to rewrite, accept critiques that aren't as praising as I had hoped, and receiving redirections and rejections from editors.
The latter is what happened yesterday. With lightning-fast speed, my manuscript was reviewed and returned. I won't go into the reasons that were stated, but without having to say so, it was a very disappointing day for me. Especially after spending the past two months reworking the story from first person POV to third person.
But after a lengthy conversation with my crit partner who knew all the right encouraging words to say :-) as well as with a few other writing friends and non-writing friends who love me, I'm ready to get back in the saddle with this thing.
My crit partner thinks my first-person version is better and I am inclined to agree. But before I can propose it anywhere I need to also rework that. Add at least 20,000 words to meet word count requirements of other publishers, include some plot changes I came up with on the third-person project that work better, and take into consideration the comments made in the rejection letter regarding some pacing issues. Rather easy fixes. I hope this won't take as long as it did for the other rework. It'll be ready to pitch at conference in Dallas in 38 days.
God is teaching me a lot and He doesn't waste a hurt, as stated in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. He has provided me with several scriptures. I keep coming back to a scripture from Hebrews 10:35-36. In the New Living Translation it says:
"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."
God knew long before I sent that puppy in what would happen. These past two months haven't been in vain, but a time to grow and to endure. Patiently endure. As I said the other day, He is my ultimate editor, agent and publisher.
I feel a song coming on "I'm back in the saddle again. Back where a . . ."
Friday, August 10, 2007
As you can see, I've added a new thingy to my blog. It's a countdown widget to the ACFW Conference to be held in Dallas September 20 - 23. It seems like I just got back from Colorado's conference and now ACFW's is coming up fast. The picture is of Julie Dearyan getting autographs from Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck and Diann Hunt during the book signing at last year's conference.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
(Faithwords August 2007)
John grew up in Mississippi cotton country. After graduating from Mississippi State, he received an Air Force commission and has recently retired after flying twenty-eight years for a major airline. He lives in Texas with his wife, Nan.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Do you have some good reads to share? Heard of some new releases that you intend to read that aren't on the list? Share them here!
August 2007 Releases
1. Abomination by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young woman flees from a serial killer who leaves his victims at geocaching sites.
2. Family for Keeps and Sadie's Hero reissued as one book by Margaret Daley, from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. This Love Inspired Classic captures two touching stories that were favorites of readers.
3. Jacob's List by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House Publishers. Facing the challenge of their lives, the Nolans learn that their son's list is about a lot more than youthful adventure. Jacob's List: a story of reconciliation. . . against all odds.
4. In His Dreams from the Michigan Island Series by Gail Gaymer Martin from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Two widowed in-laws meet again on Beaver Island after a few years absence and find joy in the sense of family, especially the hero's emotionally impaired pre-teen daughter, but the familiar friendship goes far beyond what they expected.
5. Massachusetts Brides by Lisa Harris from Barbour Publishing. Three old-fashioned romances bloom in the heart of New England.
6. Missionary Daddy Book 4 of A Tiny Blessings Tale by Linda Goodnight from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single missionary battles to adopt two boys from Africa and discovers the woman of his dreams is not who he thought she was.
7. Murder by Mushroom by Virginia Smith from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. A potluck on the lawn of Heritage Community Church brings out the usual pests: ants and flies, gossips and murderers.
8. Off the Record by Elizabeth White from Zondervan. A hidden past with journalist Cole McGaughan could end Laurel Kincade's judicial career...Or will the truth set them free to love again?
9. The Restitution 3rd book in The Legacy of the King's Pirates series by MaryLu Tyndall from Barbour Publishing. When Lady Isabel Ashton's only son is kidnapped, she is forced to enlist the aid of the boy's father, the pirate who ruined her life and stole her virtue.
10. To Love Anew Book One of Three by Bonnie Leon from Revell. When Hannah Talbot is banished from London and transported to Australia on a prison ship she's certain God has turned his back on her.
11. Trusting Him by Brenda Minton from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A woman learning to trust, a man longing to be trusted, and a love that takes them by surprise...
I read a prequel novella to Return to Me last December called A Carol For Christmas. If you've read that story then you will for sure want to read Return to Me. The story is a modern-day version of the Prodigal Son parable from the Bible only instead of the Prodigal being a son, it is Roxy Burke, Jonathan and Carol Burke's youngest daughter. Here's the back cover copy which I couldn't say better:
A lot has changed since Roxy escaped small town life to become a Nashville star. Her former boyfriend Wyatt has found Christ and plans to become a minister. Her sister Elena, who comforted Wyatt when Roxy ran away, is now his fiancee. Her father Jonathan, a successful businessman, is heartbroken over the estrangement of Roxy from the family.Now Roxy—her inheritance from her grandmother squandered, her hopes of stardom dashed—finds her way home ... not by choice but because it's her only option. Her father's love and forgiveness surprise her, but her very presence throws the contented Burke family into turmoil, filling Roxy with guilt and shame.Elena is shocked to discover doubt and resentment in her heart after her father's easy acceptance of Roxy into the family circle. Wyatt wrestles with doubts about marrying Elena. And Roxy struggles to accept forgiveness. Isn't she more deserving of rejection? As the story of the prodigal plays out, each member of the Burke family must search for and accept God's grace.
From the moment I started reading Return to Me until I finished the last page I couldn't put it down. Robin Lee Hatcher is a master at building conflict and carrying it to the end where it is resolved in a way that gives glory to God and the reader a satisfying ending.