Monday, November 26, 2007
Well now I've read it and I must say this is a book you don't want to miss! Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down until I finished it two days later. Well, I did take time out to eat and sleep and work on my WIP, LOL. But every free moment I could read, I read.
It's hard to imagine what it would be like to have a 13-year-old girl show up on your doorstep with the news that your husband is her father, but that's what happens to Suzanne Carson in "The Other Daughter." As far as Suzanne knew she had been the only woman her husband, David, an on-fire Christian, had ever been with. Up to now a strong, independent person when it came to things of the Lord, Suzanne faces a lot of struggles with acceptance of this young girl. It seems that this turn of events in her life is forcing a wedge between her and the Lord deeper than there ever has been. At every turn she rationalizes her actions and feelings only to find another obstacle has reared up. Miralee traces the character and spiritual arcs of both David and Suzanne to a satisfying conclusion as they both have to deal with David's dalliance almost fifteen years earlier, as well as forgiveness.
I highly recommend this book and if you would like to win my copy, please leave a comment in the comment section and I'll throw your name into a hat. I will draw a name next Monday, December 3rd. Note: You must leave contact information in the comment so I can reach you if I draw your name. If I can't reach you, I'll have to draw another name!
Friday, November 23, 2007
A while back I reviewed the first book in this three-book series published by Barbour , "Bygones," and have been patiently waiting to find out more about the characters in this small Kansas Mennonite community. I wasn't disappointed.
Bygones focused on Marie, who had been raised in the community as old order Mennonite, but as a very young woman had eloped with a truck driver who stole her heart. Soon after her marriage Marie's husband was killed in an accident, leaving a pregnant Marie who had been shunned by her father. She raised her daughter on her own, outside the church. Then through certain circumstances, Marie and her young adult daughter, Beth, were drawn back to Marie's hometown where Marie was reconciled to God, family, and love.
Beginnings is Beth's story and the internal conflicts she experiences as she tries to live in a town where she feels like an outcast. A new believer but not Mennonite, she wants to live among the relatives she's never known, but doesn't know how to bridge the gap. Even her mom has adopted the church family of her childhood and family by returning to the Mennonite community and wearing the prayer cap and plain clothes, while Beth who is now a stained-glass artist is most comfortable in jeans and flannel shirts. I don't want to reveal too many spoilers, but suffice it to say, there is an element of romance as well as hightened relational issues as Beth struggles with her new faith and finding her niche.
Kim does a masterful job of letting the reader get inside Beth's head and heart and and experiencing the struggles alongside Beth. As a reader, I found the spiritual and character arc in Beth most gratifying. Kim ends the book in a satisfying way, yet still leaving the reader wanting more.
The final book in the series, titled "Blessings," is due out in February.
I'd intended to give the book away in a drawing, but last week I accidentally tipped my coffee mug over on the book. With the coffee-stained pages, I can hardly offer it as a prize. But I am willing to give it to the first person who comments here that they would like it. Just be sure to let me know where I can contact you with mailing information. Don't publish it in the comments!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I just want to wish the readers of A Writer's Journey in the U.S. a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
I think Psalm 91 sums it up well.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
There have been times when I've zoned out while driving. Thinking more about something other than what I was doing, only to be jerked out of my trance with just enough time to slam on the brakes because the car in front of me had stopped. I believe that to be God's protection, alerting me of certain disaster in the nick of time. Thinking about those kind of times when I'm aware of the hedge of protection around me, I have to wonder how many more times do things like this happen that blow right past me. Times I will never know.
I hope this psalm will give you something to ponder. Enjoy the day.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I later learned that one of the books offered for November wasn't going to be able to be shipped in a timely fashion so the All Decked Out book was offered as a substitute. Since I didn't ask for the book that was postponed, I never got All Decked Out.
I haven't yet read this particular Yada Yada book, but trust me, I will. This is the final book in Neta Jackson's series. That alone will make it a bittersweet experience when I do read it.
If you haven't yet read any of these books, I want to suggest you start with book #1 which is simply titled The Yada Yada Prayer Group. But, each book can stand alone on it's own and I'm here to promote Yada Yada Gets Decked Out.
The books are set in the Rogers Park area of Chicago which is a muti-ethnic neighborhood at the very northern edge of Chicago. Cross the line at Howard Street and you are in Evanston.
The Yada Yada's are a group of ladies who meet at a women's conference and are randomly put into a group for the conference. The woman are about as mixed up as any group can get ethnicity wise. Black, Asian, Hispanic, and White. Jodie Baxter is the protag who tells the story. She's the white one. Seeing the character arc and spiritual arc for Jodie through the storyline has been a lesson in spiritual and character growth for this WASP (White, Anglosaxon, Protestant) woman (me), not to mention the same for the other characters in the stories.
In fact, right now I am listening to the series in audio format whenever I go out for my walks in the neighborhood and I come home feeling like I've been at a prayer meeting. No kidding.
I was so sad when I heard All Decked Out is to be the last in the series. I know most series do eventually stop, but I wanted to drive over to Neta Jackson's house (she lives in Evanston) and beg her to sit down at her computer and bang out another story. LOL. Of course, I didn't. I've since heard that she's starting a new series which promises to be a spinoff of Yada Yada and I cannot wait for the first book to come out.
Since I haven't yet read All Decked Out, I'll let the CFBA tell the story of this book:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Neta Jackson Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).
Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.
But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family...it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.
This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!
THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas!
Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.
In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season.
But yes, eager readers, this novella—which picks up a year and a half after the end of book #6 The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling concludes the series with some twists and turns that will amaze and encourage you. Plus, it sets the stage for Neta’s new series with new characters and new situations but also occasional roles for the beloved Yada Yada sisters in familiar Chicago neighborhoods with all their cultural richness.
It would make a great Christmas gift too! Buy it at Amazon!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I've made good headway on my story revision. Not yet done, but moving ever so closer to the end. I'm within 5,000 words of my 90,000 word goal and I still have one more scene and one more chapter to add, as well as the ever deepening POV. I'm still aiming for December 1st.
As I write, fellow ACFW member and author, Kristy Dykes is recovering in a Florida hospital from brain surgery. Kristy went to the eye doctor just over a week ago for a routine eye exam only to discover she was losing peripheral vision in both eyes. An MRI confirmed she had a brain tumor. Over the past week or so Kristy has been chronicling her experience on her blog. In the midst of her trial she has been ministering to all of us who have been reading her words. The pathology report after surgery (which occurred Thursday) confirmed the cancer. Now that she is recovering from the surgery her husband and other family have been posting to her blog. This event has drawn Christians from all over the world into corporate prayer.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.
His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.
James can be reached through the Contact link on his Website
ABOUT THE BOOK:
On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.
Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.
His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.
This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.
But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.
In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if hie has to kill for the truth.
"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care
about...a story worth telling."
Buy it at Amazon!
Friday, November 09, 2007
And, already, the wheels are turning on the plot for the next story. Maybe by New Year's I'll be writing it!
Monday, November 05, 2007
I’ve been married for 35 years this July and have two wonderful children, Marnee and Steven. I'm active at our small church, serving on staff with my ministerial license and working with women in a counseling/ministering capacity. My husband and I are looking forward to full retirement soon and taking off for a few months at a time on our 51' sailboat, where my writing will take on an entirely new creativity. We have a horse, a dog and three cats that my daughter and her husband will inherit while we're gone. Thankfully, they live on the adjoining property and are animals lovers.
Tell us a bit about your first sale: who is the publisher? Which book? Genre, etc.
My premiere novel is The Other Daughter—the story of David and Susanne Carson, a couple with an already fragile marriage that’s rocked to its foundation when a young teenaged girl appears at the door….
Here’s a brief summary:
The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life—her husband, David—until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.Not that their marriage had ever been perfect—David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands.
Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.
I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants writer…I get an idea, decide who the main characters are and start writing. I don’t follow a lot of rules, and tend to get better acquainted with my characters as I go. I have a basic overview of the story line in very simple outline form…I’m talking, a few sentences that might fill one page, at most, with very few details.
It does make it a bit more time intensive, in that I probably have more revisions than an organized writer, but I’ve found I can be more creative if everything isn’t mapped out along the way. My characters have more room to grow, change, and make some of their own decisions…I’ve had things happen in my story line that weren’t planned, but that fit beautifully and strengthened the plot. After writing the rough draft, I’ll submit it to my crit group a few chapters at a time, as well as having an editor I trust review the first third to half of the book for plot holes and inconsistencies, then start revising and editing.
This is a hard one, as I’m still very early in my writing career, having only started writing seriously just over two years ago. I’m growing and learning constantly, and in all honesty, I haven’t had a lot of frustrating times since beginning this journey. I’d have to say that the issue of timing probably stands out more than most other things. I was in too big of a hurry, at first, to send my ‘baby’ out into the world when it wasn’t ready. Had I taken the advice of an author/editor friend on some of the changes she gave me that would have strengthened my book, and not been so sure it was fine the way it was, I probably wouldn’t have had some of my early rejections. Of course, rejections are part of the growing process, and I learned valuable lessons there, too.
How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?
I’m one of those rarities in the writing world who actually enjoys the marketing part of writing. A lot of authors I know prefer to hole up in their office and write and not mess with promotion and marketing…not me. I love it. In fact, I probably spend too much time on it, and not enough on writing. Currently, I have a blog, web site, ShoutLife profile and moderate a marriage group there, as my book deals with marriage issues, a My Space site, a 60 second book trailer on God Tube and My Tube, an email campaign, free book drawings, and try to stay active on a couple different writer’s groups. I also keep in touch with about 300 people who’ve signed my guest book on my web site, and offered to help with marketing. Those people have been amazing in passing along the word to their friends. I decided I didn’t want to put out the money to have someone else put a blog tour together, so jumped in and made that happen, too. I can tell you one thing, there’s not enough hours in a day for writing, marketing, husbands, houses, animals, friends, church and all the other things I’m supposed to be doing…but thankfully, I’ve not been kicked out of church, my family and husband haven’t disowned me, and my house isn’t falling down around my ears… yet, LOL!
Do you have any parting words of advice?
Keep your priorities in order…God first, family next, ministry and others (including your writing) third. Write for the Lord, and yourself, rather than to be published. It will cut way down on the disappointment and frustration level, and bring a deep sense of joy and accomplishment.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I will be featuring Miralee and her book here at A Writer's Journey on Monday, 11/5. In the meantime you can go find Miralee on her blog tour and keep track of her, too, after she's been here.
Here's the schedule:
3rd Tina Helmuth---The Ink's Not Dry
4th Teresa Slack---ShoutLife Blog
5th Pam Meyers---A Writer’s Journey
6th Betsy St. Amant---Betsy Ann's Blog
7th Megan DiMaria---A Prisoner of Hope
8th Christa Allan---CBAllan WordPress
9th Susan Marlow---Suzy Scribbles---Homeschool Blogger
10th Jamie Driggers---Surviving the Chaos
11th Cindy Bauer----Christian Fiction Author & Speaker
12th Angie Breidenbach---God Uses Broken Vessels
13th Patricia Carroll---Patricia PacJac Carroll
14th Toni V. Lee---Spreading Truth Through Fiction
15th Camille Eide---Faith Inspiring Fiction
16th Lisa Jordan---Musings
Friday, November 02, 2007
Well, I just had a first. I got my hair trimmed to Christmas music on November 2nd. Three weeks before Thanksgiving!
It seems around Chicago there's a race on the local radio stations to see who can start playing Christmas music first. One of the stations started yesterday. I couldn't believe it. It's a station my hairdresser normally has her radio set to and she said she keeps forgetting to change it.
And they weren't just playing a song every once in a while. It's every single song, all day long. She told me it's going to be that way 24/7 until Christmas Day.
I love Christmas. It's the day Christians celebrate Jesus' first coming to earth as baby. But even so, let's celebrate Thanksgiving first. Last year I asked in this blog whatever happened to Thanksgiving because Christmas has just about wiped that wonderful holiday off the minds of retailers and others who are out to cash in on Christmas. Whatever gives them the most bang for the buck, that's where their hearts are set.
We need to write some Thanksgiving songs. Then maybe at least the radio stations would hold off. What do you think?
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)
We have another two-for-one week on the Christian Fiction Blog Tour. I didn't get this book ahead of time, but am awaiting it to arrive in the mail now. I can't wait to get it because Denise's stories never fail to entertain and cause me to think. I know without actually reading this book myself that you are going to love it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?
"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)
Buy it at Amazon!